Elite competitive eaters are basically mutants: they look nothing like what you’d expect and where they put all that food remains a mystery of science. Sure, J. J. Watt can leap directly onto the roof of a parked Toyota Yaris from a standing position, but we’re betting that he tops out at one 72-ounce porterhouse per sitting. In other words, as far as eating goes, J. J. Watt has nothing on Molly Schuyler, who once again proved herself a steak-eating champion over the weekend in Amarillo.
Schuyler is among the top female competitors in what’s largely a man’s game—in All Pro Eating, the competitive eating organization to which she belongs, she’s one of just two ranked women, while fifteen of the top twenty athletes at rival Major League Eating are men. Indeed, while there’s no unified champion in competitive eating (All Pro’s rules are more strict, requiring competitors to eat their meals without dunking items in water to speed chewing and digestion), Schuyler has claimed records that the rival organization’s champ, Joey Chestnut, previously held. And the question of whether she’s the world’s greatest competitive eater is one that’s definitely worth asking, especially in the wake of what she laid down in Amarillo (let the video load, then start at minute 39).
At a competition arranged by the Big Texan Steak Ranch—where, in 2014, Schuyler snatched the world record from Chestnut—Shuyler took on a new challenge: to out-eat four two-person teams with porterhouse steaks, baked potatoes, shrimp cocktail, salad, and dinner rolls. Not only did she beat the teams (which consisted of local football players and professional wrestlers), she bested her own world record by a considerable margin. As the Amarillo Globe-News reports:
Molly Schuyler, a 120-pound mother of four, conquered the 72-ounce showdown at The Big Texan Steak Ranch by eating three of the steak meals in a combined 20 minutes Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds gathered outside the restaurant to watch her down three steaks, three baked potatoes, three shrimp cocktails, three salads and three rolls in a record-breaking time.
“We’ve seen a lot of things come through these doors but Molly … she takes the cake … she takes lots and lots of cake,” said a joking Bobby Lee, Big Texan co-owner.
The crowd cheered as Schuyler, a Nebraska native who lives in Sacramento, Calif., finished her first steak dinner in 4 minutes, 18 seconds, beating the restaurant’s record of 4:58 she set May 26, 2014.
Let’s put into perspective for a moment how impressive Schuyler’s accomplishment is. That’s 13.5 pounds of steak alone, and we’re fairly certain that Big Texan doesn’t serve skimpy potatoes or shrimp cocktail. It’s not unreasonable to guess that Schuyler ate somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 percent of her total body weight in Amarillo this weekend.
Competitive eating is a weird sport, to be certain—but it’s one with its own heroes and mythologies, and Molly Schuyler, who plans to return next year to add a fourth steak to the mix, is creating a new legend in Amarillo and beyond.
(Photograph by AP Photo/The Amarillo Globe News, Sean Steffen)