The great pie conquest of 2017

Sophia DiBattista

     Ursinus College’s annual pie eating contest was held on Nov. 15 in Upper Wismer. Twelve fierce competitors sacrificed clean faces for this battle of wits, stamina, and cast-iron stomachs. The tensions were high and rambunctious as students crowded tables around the U-shaped arena to watch the event. Blaring music roared throughout the eatery, and spectators cheered for friends. While everyone fought a messy struggle, Joseph Engle triumphed about two minutes ahead, giving him time to clean off his iconic beard.

     First-place winner, Engle, is a Wismer worker who does not attend Ursinus, but that does not mean he isn’t part of the school family. His eagerness and appreciation for the dessert prompted him to join in. “I love pie. I love all types of pie, so when I heard there was a pie eating contest, I thought, ‘Wow, I need to do this.’ I was pumped up to win, [and] since there was free pie offered, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.”

     Regarding his history with food eating contests, Engle stated that he is not a novice. “I’ve done competitive eating before, so I kind of had something to go from. Plus, I eat really fast anyway. That’s just what I do. So, if I already eat like that and there’s a pie eating contest, I might as well eat pie competitively!”

     Engle also shared the method in which he prepared for the contest, which he believes aided his victory. Said Engle, “Before it all happened, I drank tea and water to expand my stomach. Since it was fluid, it made room and kept me full for a little bit. Even though it worked and didn’t make me sick, I was anxious to finally dive into some actual food when the contest started.”

     Other participants included Mariana Arrisueno, Jeniece Butts, Rachel Coleman, Ian Dawsey, Lauren D’Ortona, Julia Ewing, Rebecca Kane, Lex Lehr, Eric Levai, Gabby Lomanto, and John Thomas. Third place went to Butts, and second place went to Thomas, who vomited during the competition but continued to eat his pie.

     The first-place winner won a golden pig trophy and a $25 C-Store gift card. The second-place winner was awarded a $25 C-Store gift card, and the third-place winner received a $10 C-Store gift card. Besides these spoils, all the entrants won the opportunity to devour homemade pumpkin pies prepared by the in-house Ursinus bakery.

     Gerarda Leone, a fellow Wismer employee, explained that the contest is entertaining for the whole Ursinus community, not just those competing.

     “The kids get really into it! Last year, a man dressed up as Steve Austin, the WWE wrestler, and hyped everyone up. It was hilarious to watch,” she said.

     Leone added, “I love how exciting it is. Since I work the register and ID swipes, I can sit back and enjoy the show as long as no tall people block my view!”

     Freshman Jenna Marcopul was present at the time of the event, and describes it as “Pie-tacular!”

     “I didn’t expect much going into it and thought it would be boring. Instead, it was a ton of fun watching people scarf down pie as fast as possible!” said Marcopul.

     For one day a year, the annual pie eating contest provides Ursinus with a meal and a show.

      Said Leone, “I definitely advise people to come because it’s short, sweet, and a good time.”