November 25, 2005

Woman gives new meaning to “fast food”

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A day before millions of Americans sit
down to eat traditional Thanksgiving dinners, a Virginia woman
grabbed the world turkey-eating title on Wednesday by gobbling
down a whole roast bird in 12 minutes.

Sonya Thomas, 37, who weighs just 105 pounds (47.5 kg),
beat seven men in the annual Thanksgiving Invitational: a race
to eat a 10-pound (4.5-kg) turkey.

The smallest in the field, Thomas put her victory down to
"swallowing fast."

"It was very dry and the skin was very dry," said Thomas,
holding her trophy, a roasting pan, over her head. "I just
tried to eat fast."

Venerated in competitive eating circles as "The Black
Widow," the Alexandria, Virginia woman said she trained for the
event, held at a delicatessen in New York, by chewing gum to
get her jaw in top form.

She said she plans to eat turkey again on Thursday, but
much more slowly so that she can taste every bite.

Her victory was no surprise. She is ranked as the No. 2
competitive eater in the world, behind Japan's Takeru
Kobayashi, according to the International Federation of
Competitive Eating, which sponsored the turkey-eating event.

Thomas, who collected $2,500 in prize money, has also
dominated her opponents in egg, cheesecake, baked bean,
crab-cake, meatball, and fruit-cake eating contests.