Setting a new world record for consuming more then 7 pounds of hot wings in 12 minutes, 23-year-old Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., today was crowned "TripRewards Ultimate Hot Wing Eating Champion", his 31st championship.
The event kicked-off TripRewards Mystery Hot Spot, the summer loyalty program from the Wyndham Hotel Group.
Chestnut, weighing 230 pounds, consumed 7.05 pounds of wings was among seven ravenous contenders, including runner-up Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, from Alexandria, Va., who scarfed 6.013 pounds of hot wings, and Tim "Eater X" Janus, from New York, N.Y., who placed third with 5.38 pounds.
The contest, sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, was held in Grand Central Terminal before a crowd of spectators and commuters, many of whom stopped by to see Saturday Night Live's Kenan Thompson host the event.
For every pound of hot wings consumed, Wyndham Hotel Group donated $250 to Food Bank For New York City, a charity committed to ending hunger by organizing food, information and support for community survival and dignity. The eaters managed to consume a total of 30 pounds of hot wings, raising $7,500 for the organization and providing more than 37,500 free meals for New Yorkers who otherwise would go hungry
"We're so proud to have been able to host this fiery event," said Jill Noblett, senior vice president of loyalty and direct marketing for Wyndham Hotel Group. "Joey set a new record in competitive eating, and we hope he can use his TripRewards points to earn even more recognition."
Chestnut rose to lofty heights in record time, winning Rookie of the Year for 2005 and nearly defeating the great Kobayashi in hamburgers and hot dogs. He went undefeated by any American eater for 10 months in 2006.
Chestnut's championship prize includes one million TripRewards points, which can be redeemed for exciting rewards including a Hawaiian vacation package for two that includes two plane tickets, seven nights at participating hotels and more than two dozen $50 restaurant gift cards. Or he could use the million TripRewards points to rent a car for 166 days (to catch each and every IFOCE competition); stay 100 nights at select hotels (to recover); or purchase two 42-inch, flat-screen televisions (to relive his big wins.)
The TripRewards Mystery Hot Spot Promotion invites everyone to go to www.triprewards.com/mystery
to play an instant-win game and enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes (no purchase is necessary to participate).
Wyndham Hotel Group's TripRewards loyalty program is the largest in the lodging industry based on the number of participating hotels. Members earn 10 points for every $1 spent on qualifying room rates at Super 8(R), Days Inn(R), Ramada(R), Baymont Inn & Suites(R), Wingate(R) by Wyndham, Travelodge(R), Howard Johnson(R), AmeriHost Inn(R) and Knights Inn(R) hotels.
Members also can earn points for everyday purchases and services including car rentals, tax preparation, online shopping and vacations.
TripRewards points can be redeemed for free hotel stays, airline tickets, name-brand merchandise and dining and shopping gift cards, among other options. In lieu of points, members may elect to earn airline miles with a variety of partners. TripRewards membership is free.