OTTUMWA, Iowa — Twelve people from around the country competed in the first ever Canteen Eating Contest.
Nine of whom, are Major League Eating sanctioned professional eaters.
The Canteen prepared over 300 sandwiches just for this event.
And, the most eaten in 10 minutes was a whopping 18 and a half by Gideon Oji. And he says it wasn’t easy.
“The sandwiches fought back, they fought back hard .Whenever the food is very good, it fights back it has more flavor to it, the more difficult it is to eat,” said Oji.
Oji is ranked as the sixth eater in the world by Major League Eating.
He says he drove straight from Philadelphia, where he competed at another event, to be in Ottumwa this weekend.
But, Oji’s success Saturday wasn’t as a big of a surprise as you’d think.
Bloomfield’s own Mike Johnson took fourth place after chowing down 11 and a half canteen sandwiches.
“I was just smashing and grabbing and smashing down so I didn’t lose it because they deducted for that. So, I wanted to eat as much as I can right off the bat,” said Johnson.
Johnson, who’s also the Davis County Treasurer, was a last minute addition to the competition. He got the call that he was going to be an alternate Friday afternoon. But, that didn’t stop him from taking a big win.
“This means a lot to me,” said Johnson. “This is something I did locally for the last 25 years, this was my first time on a national stage and I felt I represented myself and southern Iowa very well. I know I beat multiple pros that entered today, so yes I feel like I did great.”
Johnson was the only amateur eater to place in the top six.