Bill “El Wingador” Simmons (left)
However you feel about competitive eating, being a five-time champion of WIP’s “Wing Bowl” is something worth bragging about. And Bill “El Wingador” Simmons has never exactly shied away from publicity. He has a giant chicken costume. He has arrived in his chosen arena of gustatory combat by motorcycle. While doing time on a drug conviction, he started writing an autobiography (along with co-writer and business partner Joe Vallee) called Snow On The Barb Wire, and finished it once he got out.
And now, along with Vallee and Bob Silzle (a franchise expert who operated 29 Five Guys burger joints in and around Philly), he’s making a run at the restaurant business. Well, a second run, actually. But this time, he has a plan.
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Good morning, Philadelphia. The snow is beginning to fall and stick across the region. We’re not expected to get a lot — about an inch — but please be careful out there. Here’s what else you need to know:
Attacks return to the Schuylkill River Trail, arrests made.
The young men on bikes who have been robbing joggers, walkers and riders on the Schuylkill River Trail are back after going into hiding when police stepped up patrols on the trail. Trail users were relieved of cash and possessions in three separate incidents on two days this week, according to a 6ABC report. In the most recent incident on Wednesday, things got violent when the victim refused to unlock his cell phone and the young men began to punch and kick him. Police arrested four young men a few minutes after that incident, while other incidents reportedly remain under investigation. Residents living near the trail have been concerned about the attacks for months, and City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has formed a task force to come up with ways to make the trail safer. Read more »
Jon Dorenbos. Photo | Dan McQuade
You’ve heard quite a bit from us about Wing Bowl this year. Is it time to end it? Won’t somebody think of the chickens? Mick Foley will be there!
And now it’s here. Just like last year, our writer-at-large Dan McQuade is on the scene. He’s commandeered the Philly Mag Twitter account and will be live-tweeting the the atrocities at Wing Bowl 23. Follow along as he documents the floats, the spectacle, the gluttony and the unspeakably fowl carnage.
Dan McQuade’s Twitter coverage after the jump »
When morals get murky, I like to play a game I call, “What Would the Aliens Say?”
(You could, of course, substitute the more mainstream “What Would Jesus Do,” but only at your own risk. From what I can tell, Jesus was a pretty solid dude, and I have no interest in living a life that pious. Extraterrestrials tend to be more lenient.)
In 1900, this is what the aliens in my head said when they came across a human eating a chicken: “Ah yes, the food chain! Everything seems to be in good working order on Earth.”
In 1990: “Well, it’s kind of weird that people are trusting factory farms to raise their food behind closed doors, but how could they know what was really going on? If they understood the horrific conditions these animals were raised in, they surely wouldn’t purchase them.”
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Scenes from recent Wing Bowls. Photos (clockwise from top left): Sportsradio 94WIP; Alejandro A. Alvarez/Daily News; Associated Press
Early one Friday morning last January, I was surrounded by roughly 20,000 screaming fans, an army of half-naked women, and an effigy of Ruben Amaro. High above on the scoreboard video screen, a clip played on repeat. The image: a guy projectile vomiting. On the same floor where Allen Iverson once thrilled, where the Flyers nearly won their third Stanley Cup just five years ago, a bunch of dudes (and one very intimidating woman) were shoving chicken wings down their pie-holes as fast as they could. The crowd cheered, mostly in hopeful anticipation of someone puking.
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Mick Foley at Comic Con in October 2014 at The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. | Sam Aronov / Shutterstock.com
Just when you thought Philadelphia’s annual pageant of the grotesque couldn’t get any weirder comes this news: Former world pro wrestling champion Mick Foley will compete at this year’s Wing Bowl.
Foley — who also wrestled as Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love — was best known in wrestling for his battles with The Rock over the WWF Championship, as well as losing two-thirds of his right ear in a match in 1994. He also wrestled in Extreme Championship Wrestling, a popular Philadelphia-based promotion in the 1990s.
This morning on WIP, Foley said he’s no celebrity stunt contestant: He’s in it to win. “I believe, as they say, on any given Sunday in the game of football,” Foley said on the station. “On Wing Bowl, it’s on — on any given day I believe I could stand my ground with the best in the world … I already have a doctor on hand ready to give me the Heimlich maneuver if needed.”
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Not sure why the BBC waited two months to share its coverage of Wing Bowl with the world, but we have it at last. And all of Ronnie Polaneczky’s criticisms about the sexism of the event seem a little sharper in light of this particular anecdote.
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There are two types of Philadelphians: those who think that Wing Bowl is the most awesome thing ever and those who think that Wing Bowl is the most idiotic human endeavor possible. Those of you who fall into this latter category will enjoy a Wing Bowl 2014 video released by The Panic Hour, a comedy-activism collective based in Philadelphia. Read more »
A day after she appeared on Angelo Cataldi’s show to debate the merits of Wing Bowl, Ronnie Polaneczky was back in the Daily News to further criticize Wing Bowl debauchery. And this time she came armed with men:
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Until now, we didn’t know that Angelo Cataldi could be hurt by anything but a poorly swallowed cheesesteak. Turns out he takes criticism of WIP’s Wing Bowl very personally—and Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky’s criticism of it very, very personally.
“I always assumed there must have been something missing, because who would attend an event limited only to gluttony, binge drinking, vomit and half-naked women? There had to be more to it, yes?” she wrote Saturday, after the 22nd Wing Bowl. “No. There is not more to it.”
Polaneczky joined Cataldi on the air Tuesday morning, where he called her column a “hatchet job”—saying she focused on negatives when there were plenty of positives to be found, including money raised for charity.
“What did you expect?” Cataldi asked Polaneczky. “It really is not a show for someone in your demographic. What did you expect when you went to the Wing Bowl?”
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