Monday, January 12, 2009

Competitive Eating Manager Turns Competitive Eater

(Rick "The Manager" at the 2008 Wing Bowl)

There is something magical about the beginning of January. A new year has just begun, football excitement is in full swing, and the city of Philadelphia is getting ready to become bombarded with scantily-clad women and carnivorous lovers of the almighty wing. Locals and out-of-towners alike look forward to the Wing Bowl every year as it glorifies indulgence; a time when it is not only accepted but expected to eat, drink, and be merry for a night in the City of Brotherly Love.

No one could be more excited for the Wing Bowl this year than Rick “The Manager” Russo, who qualified today to be a competitor in Wing Bowl 17. Russo, a Royersford P.A. resident has had many roles in the Wing Bowl in past years—duties which have included participating in eater entourages and even managing some competitors.

Although “The Manager” rejoices tonight in knowing that he will be competing with the elite wing eaters of the Philadelphia area, his journey to the table didn’t start out so optimistic. The year began out in chaos when 610WIP announced that they wanted to keep the contest only open to local competitors. Automatically, big named eaters such as Joey Chestnut and Pat Bertoletti who dominated Wing Bowl’s past were turned away from the competition. Along with the ‘keep it local’ mentality, Wing Bowl organizers also decided to eliminate all professional eaters, meaning that even the local pros such as Wing Kong, Steakbellie, and Humble Bob would not be able to compete.

With the omission of his seasoned eaters-friends from this year’s Wing Bowl, Rick “The Manager” almost lost all hope in being in the hullabaloo of the 17th Wing Bowl. Adding to the fact that his professional eater friends could not participate, Dave “The Dumpster”, an eater Russo manages and has been in the Wing Bowl the past few years decided to opt out this time around. Leaving “The Manager” without an entourage to join or an eater to manage, Rick was determined to find a way to place an eater in the contest…until he got distracted.

Rick’s wife Sherri found out that she had a cancer on her thyroid that had to be removed. This immediately made “The Manager” forget about trying to place an eater in the Wing Bowl and turn his entire focus on helping his wife get through her surgery. Luckily, Sherri made it through her surgery and is recovering well; able-bodied enough to decide it was time to live her dream of being a human plate.

Wait a minute. Rewind. A human plate? What is a human plate you might ask. Well, it is exactly what it sounds like. A human (preferably a woman) places food on her body (preferably not wearing a lot of clothes) while someone (usually a man) eats food off of said woman. While watching T.V. one night, the Russos stumbled across one of those “Las Vegas: Exposed” shows on the Travel Channel and discovered that one of the sexiest jobs in Vegas was to be a human plate. Mrs. “The Manager” Sherri thought it would be fun to try and be a human plate someday, which got gears rolling at full speed in Rick’s mind.

A few nights later while “The Manager” was taking a shower, a light bulb went off in his head. Rick still had it in the back of his mind that he would try to place an eater in Wing Bowl 17 but was unlucky at doing so. But after thinking about this fact for a minute, and remembering Sherri’s new-found dream of being a human plate, Rick “The Manager” had an epiphany. He, himself would qualify for the Wing Bowl by eating food off of a human plate; his wife. But what food would he eat off of this nearly-naked woman? He racked his mind trying to think of the perfect human-plate-food…first toying with the ever-so-Philly idea of cheese steaks, but that just wasn’t sexy enough to be eating off of a hot girl. Finally, “The Manager” decided on the epitome of sexy food to use for his stunt: Sushi.

The plan was set. To finalize this dual dream--one of being in the Wing Bowl and the other of being a sexy human plate, Rick “The Manager” Russo called in to 610WIP last week to propose his idea to the Wing Bowl promoters. His stunt: eating 4 feet of sushi off of two women wearing only Victoria’s Secret lingerie. Ingenious. How could one turn down a stunt involving sushi and women in underwear? “The Manager” practiced his stunt once, actually eating 5 feet (in length) of sushi and sashimi in 2 minutes and 38 seconds, surpassing what he had assumed he could do. Today, to qualify, he was actually given 6 minutes by the radio station to complete his stunt but definitely surpassed his practicing time. As far as preparation for the big day, Rick plans on practicing various eating techniques, but for the most part, he says he'll just 'wing it'. He is has high hopes of doing quite well in this contest and is excited to participate knowing that no matter what happens in the end, someone from the ‘home team’ of Philadelphia will bring back the title this year.

With a new-found talent for an already established interest in competitive eating, I think this will be the first of many contests in which “The Manager” is a participant instead of a spectator. Encouraging all he encounters to "Eat Each Meal Like It's Your Last," Russo seems like he is ready to enter the elite competitive eating game with full force. Keep a look out, Rick “The Manager” Russo might be dropping that nickname for one more suitable of a professional eater.


Boy and Girl said...

someone is going to competitively eat off another's body!?!?!? that is exciting and dangerous on multiple levels. i really need to witness this.

maybe i should just cover lindsey in peanut butter and participate.


Man v. said...


I work with the Travel Channel's online community team and noticed that you two are all about the food challenges. I thought you might be interested to know that Travel Channel's Man V. Food will be featuring Boston in this week's episode, which airs Wednesday, January 14th, at 10pm ET.

What is Travel Channel's Man v. Food?
In this brand new series, host Adam Richman travels the country in search of the biggest, baddest food challenges.

Boston Details
This Wednesday's Man v. Food brings burger-eating to a whole new level. But first Adam Richman, the host, heads to Beantown for the East Coast Grill’s Hell Night: a super-spicy feast where they serve some of the hottest foods on earth. The Pasta from Hell is topped with three Ghost Chilis, and a pepper from India that’s 100 times hotter than a jalapeƱo. Next Adam is off to the Barking Crab for some traditional New England fare:a 4 pound clambake.

For the main event, Adam takes on the Eagles Deli Challenge with a local Red Sox fan: a whopping five-pound, 10-patty burger, with 20 slices of cheese, 20 pieces of bacon, five pounds of fries and a giant pickle. Over 1500 have attempted the Eagles Deli challenge … and so far none have succeeded. Will New York defeat Boston?

Tune-in to Man v. Food on Wednesday at 10pm ET to find out! Below is a sneak peek video for you to post to your blog.

To get updates on Travel Channel's Man v. Food and look at pictures of Adam on the road, become a fan of Travel Channel's Man V Food Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter. Also, we are putting together a weekly updates list to keep fans "in the know". Please let me know if you are interested in being on this list.

On a more personal note, I hope you do not find this offensive. I try to reach out to people who would be interested to know what Man V. Food is up to!

Emma Sefton

Room 214, Inc. on behalf of the Travel Channel

Dana said...

No one else but Rick could pull this off!

Badlands Booker said...

Rick The Manager is gonna win the Wing Bowl!!! 'Nuff Said!