For tips on reducing time wasted chewing, talk to the Harvard-based champions of last Thursday’s Rice and Bean Pot Burrito Eating Contest hosted by Qdoba. Nicknamed “Team Owl” for their final club membership, the quartet of Ryan K. Burke ‘10, Tyler D. Sipprelle ’10, Christian D. Wood ’11, and Daniele M. Pellegrini ’11 claimed victory over teams from Boston University, Boston College and Northeastern—the other schools of the actual Beanpot, a hockey tournament—downing a burrito each for a total time of under 3 minutes and 15 seconds. The prize was a trip to a Mexican or Caribbean destination of the team’s choice.
The competition began on a less intense note, with each college first battling it out locally over a spicy but meatless burrito, complete with Nantucket Nectars. The teams with the fastest times then moved on to the semi-finals and finals at The Paradise Rock Club in Boston. There they faced the same task with a more daunting obstacle: a burrito con carne.
While the eaters may not be competing in Vancouver this winter, they still take their sport and competitors seriously. “I was nervous because I was facing this legendary Northeastern kid; he was kind of the premier burrito eater,” said Burke.
Behind the glory and crushing victory, dedication was key to the team’s success. Qdoba offered free burritos to the trainees, and according to team coach Douglas L. Schadewald ’10, they took full advantage of it. “We’d go to Qdoba once or twice a day,” he said. “We researched different types of techniques.” After many practice runs, they found that the best method was to take two bites of the burrito before dumping the drink on top to make it easier to swallow.
The strategy worked. When the last bite of burrito was gone, Team Owl’s fans crashed the stage and sprayed beer according to Kevin F. Burke ’10, brother of Ryan. “Everyone there hated us. We were truly obnoxious,” he said.