Results of the ?Betcha Can?t? Challenge

Category:  BloggERy
Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Results of the ?Betcha Can?t? Challenge by Courtney McGraw


If you didn’t attend the Three B Saloon on Wednesday, Feb. 15, then you sure did miss out on an entertainingly sloppy event. In case you didn’t get the memo, Erie’s own Alex Bieler put up quite a fight against what can only be described as “a towering bacon Christmas tree.”

The “Betcha Can’t” Challenge is offered by the one and only Three B Saloon. The contestant is provided with a gargantuan burger that is comprised of eight ?-pound beef patties, 24 pieces of bacon, 16 slices of cheese, countless pieces of lettuce and tomatoes, and two huge pieces of toast. That’s not all though. You also have to finish a half of a pound of pub chips. Just to be funny, a Diet Coke is thrown into the mix.

The irony of this tale is that some of the Erie Reader crew, including yours truly, have been vegetarians for quite some time now. Even though this contest went against many of our beliefs, let’s be honest: how can you pass up an up-close and personal pig-out fest? The rules were that the competitor, Bieler in this case, had a little over thirty minutes to inhale the steaming beast placed in front of him and once he began, he was not allowed to leave his chair.

Before even getting remotely close to the Three B Saloon, the heavy scent of charcoal, barbecued ribs, and smoked bacon filled the air. Basically, it’s the definition on a carnivore’s heaven. Never being there before, I slightly welcomed this scent since I have no GPS system. At least I was on the right track. The scent hit me even harder once I opened my car door. I don’t know how anyone can live near this restaurant. My coat still reeks to this day of cooked meat.

Once inside, we all enjoyed some drinks and ordered some food (yes, they even have vegetarian options there) while we waited for the challenge to begin. Bieler was very excited for this event and had been looking forward to taking on the challenge, which was held the day after Valentine’s Day, for quite some time. When asked what his thoughts were about this event, Bieler responded with one of the best quotes of the night: “People celebrate Valentine’s Day by inserting meat inside of them, so I figured I would do the same thing today!”

Before the contest began, Bieler clued us in on just how he prepared for this feat. He began by eating as much as he could for five days in order to stretch out his stomach and get his jaw in shape. The three days before the competition, Bieler drank as much water as possible to keep himself hydrated and further stretch his stomach. Finally, on the day of the challenge, he ate hardly anything. “All I ate today was one piece of toast with a little bit of peanut butter on top,” Bieler said. “Oh yeah, and a glass of milk too.”

Bieler had a game plan all mapped out too. He planned on eating a few burgers, then taking a break to get some of the chips out of the way, then return to the burgers. The whole time, he wanted to keep hydrated too, so he made sure to order a tall glass of ice water; the Diet Coke simply would not be able to do the job.

As the ginormous burger arrived, applause filled the entire saloon. People from the very end of the bar headed over to catch a peek and snap some pictures. Bieler certainly was the man of the hour. Chanting shortly followed and Bieler was more than ready to take on the challenge. He was one hungry man, having not eaten much that day. The first step was taking apart the tower of burgers and bacon, which were held together by not one, but two long wooden skewers. In fact, there was so much to this burger that two plates had to be provided to hold it all. Then, it was on.

Bieler grabbed the first patty with both of his hands and inhaled it in only a few bites. He passionately ingested the bacon in what could only make the biggest carnivore a little uncomfortable. I wonder what that piglet’s mother would think. After attacking a second ? pound patty and a thick piece of toast that served as the bottom bun, Bieler turned his gaze to the Diet Coke. At this point, Bieler was unstoppable. That pop was gone in just a few gulps. The audience got a kick out of that, Bieler’s own way of taking a jab at the challenge.

Bieler finished off a third burger and countless pieces of bacon before, staying loyal to his plan, he turned to the pub chips. By now, he admitted that the saltiness of all the food was getting to him. He tried to keep his head up by sipping on some ice water between tackling the large basket of chips in front of him. About ? of the way through the pub chips, Bieler turned back to his plates of burgers. By now, he was 18 minutes into the challenge and still had five more burgers and all of the fixings to tackle, not to mention the rest of the pub chips. There was no stopping Bieler as he chomped away at meaty monster that sit before him.

At the 26.5 minute mark, he stopped to unbutton his pants. Things were getting serious now. All of the liquid inside of him was causing the food to expand, and you could tell that he had hit the wall. I remember someone in the crowd commenting on him being in a food coma by yelling, “You look like you’re stoned... on meat!” Sadly, at the 32-and-a-half-minute mark, Bieler grabbed a paper towel and waved it over his head. The crowd tried to cheer him on, but it was over. Bieler surrendered to the remaining pile of meat in front of him. He had finished almost four burgers, more than 16 pieces of bacon, one thick slice of toast, countless pieces of cheese, and other toppings, ? of the basket of pub chips, and a can of Diet Coke.

Upon being asked how he felt, Bieler replied, “Okay, but not great.” Shortly after that comment, he lied down across three chairs in the restaurant. We were glad to enlighten him to the fact that his next feat will be the Oasis Pub’s “Wanker Challenge,” which consists of eating three half-pound hot dogs and a pound of French fries in less than an hour. Upon hearing that, Bieler sadly replied with, “I’m full of meat and sadness. I’m dead meat, both literally and figuratively.”

After nursing a beer and helping him pack up his leftovers, Bieler came out of his food coma and was back to his old self. Already being out on a Wednesday night, the crew took the party to the Vermont Tavern to share the results of the challenge.

After following up with Bieler the next day, I’m glad to share that he is still alive and well. “I actually ended up finishing the leftovers within two days,” Bieler said. “So my love of beef and bacon has survived. It felt like nothing changed the next day.” His days of eating contests are not over though. Bieler is already talking about what he would do differently if he ever attempted the challenge again. “I'm not sure how much differently I'd prepare if I were to do it again,” Bieler said. Although he remains undecided on future game plans regarding how to tackle eating contests, he definitely plans to do more in the future. This event has turned him into quite a celebrity around Erie. “I am impressed with how many people have been asking me about how the challenge went,” Bieler added. “Apparently everyone seems to know that the gluttonous gig went down. Apparently forcing a large amount of meat inside of you can get you five minutes of fame.”

I must admit, that fame was well earned. Stay tuned. The Erie Reader will definitely have more food challenges coming your way.

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