Northampton eating contest winner ‘can’t be proud for eating six burgers’

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@StephMurr_Jour
Published: 12/9/2016 7:14:57 PM

Steven Caci ate six-and-one-third hamburgers for a free T-shirt and bragging rights on Friday night.

The 24-year-old Northampton resident was the victor of Local’s eighth annual burger eating contest Friday during the Holiday Stroll. Caci was one of six participants in the competition, and attributes his victory to “squishing multiple burgers together.”

“I came to win, but I can’t be proud for eating six hamburgers,” Caci said with a chuckle.

The burger-eating competition has occurred annually since 2010 to commemorate the anniversary of Local’s opening day. The rules are simple: Eat as many burgers as you can in 15 minutes.

Local employees brought bowls of hamburgers wrapped in signature checkered paper to a table outside the restaurant for competitors to feast on. 

“No pink, bread and meat,” said Local manager Jack Findlay as he kept time on his iPhone. 

Competitors were allowed one cup of water or soda, and some used the liquid to soak their hamburger buns before eating them. If the competitors left the table, they would be disqualified. 

No one has ever thrown up during the competition, Findlay said. But he said he’s not so sure about after.

To keep track, those on the burger binge had to hold onto each of the burger wrappers and count them at the end. Ketchup was optional, and several competitors were squirting it into their mouths in place of a beverage by the end of the contest. 

For Caci, the competition was close to home. He lives in an apartment above the city’s popular burger joint and said he will be proud to see his name on a plaque in the restaurant. 

If he could do it again, though, he would eat fewer burgers. His hands were pretty numb, he said, after munching away outside in the cold.

“My advice would be keep track of how many burgers it takes to win, I could’ve eaten less burgers,” Caci said. “I just got in my zone.”

Caci’s roommate Katie Holmquist, 24, attended the competition to cheer him on. She said she has been texting Caci for days to remind him to prepare for the competition.

“I absolutely expected him to win,” Holmquist said.

More than six burgers in 15 minutes is an incredible feat. But Caci’s score isn’t even close to the record for most burgers eaten of all time at Local. That record is held by Geoffrey Esper, who competed in 2015.

According to Findlay, Esper swept the competition when he ate 11 and a half burgers. But what he did after the competition was really the stuff of legends.

“Afterward he ordered another burger and a milkshake,” Findlay said. “At that point, we were worried about him.”


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