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Thursday, December 30, 2004

Monster Thickburger Challenge 2004. On Sunday, December 26th, five of us descended upon a Hardee's located in the heart of Southwest Virginia. The task: eat as many Monster Thickburgers as is humanly possible within an hour. What is the Monster Thickburger? It is two one-third pound patties of the finest Angus beef, three slices of American cheese, four strips of bacon, mayonnaise, all on a buttered and toasted sesame bun. The damage: 1420 calories, 107 grams of fat, $6.09 each. Hardee's has hailed it as a "monument to decadence," and "not a burger for tree-huggers." It's a winner-takes-all battle for family bragging rights and for the Champion's Trophy, the Burgermeister Meisterburger.

Before entering into the finest Hardee's restaurant in town, we posed for what we feared would be the last picture of the five of us alive. Once inside, we ordered, and the helpful Hardee's workers couldn't have been more amused when we told them about the challenge. Having agreed to waive all rights to sue either Hardee's or other contestants for death or injury, we toasted to gluttony, started the clock, and bit into the juicy goodness of the Monster Thickburger. And honestly, I thought that the first bite was pretty damn good. What made it so scrumptuous? The buttered and toasted bun. While it was no Kahuna burger, it was indeed a tasty burger.

It only took eight minutes for me to finish my first burger before ordering another. Soon after, others followed and asked for more Monster thickburgers, please. But you can already see signs of weakness from my older brother. His sweatpants would turn out to be no match for all that Angus.

Soon after the ninth burger was ordered, the first person dropped out of the contest. A piece of grissle/bone proved to be too large an obstacle to overcome, and Angela recited the losers oath, "I am a disgusting American, and the terrorists are right to hate our freedom. I, too, hate our freedom, and the collective gluttony of my fellow citizens is reason enough for me to die." She then removed herself from the table, leaving four of us to marvel at how big and thick the Monster Thickburger is.

At about 25 minutes into the contest when on our second burgers, we agreed that we all felt high. Overcome with a sense of euphoria, my younger brother, Daniel, declared, "This second burger is even better than the first." He then moved ahead into first place. Did I mention that he's a vegetarian? Yep. He is. Which makes his performance all the more impressive. And after sizing up the situation, brother-in-law Daniel bowed out.

The Hardee's workers were amazed when Daniel and I went up to order a third Monster Thickburger. "You guys are awesome," one exclaimed. A third burger would make a total of two pounds of the finest Angus, twelve strips of bacon, nine pieces of cheese, a couple ounces of mayo, and six slices of buttered and toasted bread. David realized that age was no match for youth, and he took the oath before disappearing to the bathroom minutes later.

And so there were two. With sixteen minutes left, the physical segment of the competition was over, and it was time to move in to the mental stage. We knew that the third burger would be the last. It was like a velodrome bike race where the competitors start out slow, each waiting for the other to make the first move. Daniel struck first, taking out a respectable chunk of his third burger. But the years of vegetarianism were starting to take their toll on Daniel and I took another large bite of my wafer thin sandwich.

We entered the final stretch, the hour nearly through. I had taken back the lead, and Daniel stuffed half his remaining sandwich in his mouth. Quickly, I took another big bite and started to chew. Then Daniel pulled back out the burger from his mouth, simultaneously recognizing defeat and suckering me into eating more of that nasty third burger.

Time expired, the remains of the day were judged, and I was declared winner having almost finished my third burger. And I made sure to thank the very important people who made it all possible--the best damn cook and cashier ever.

Then we went home. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that we agreed that we won't tempt the fates, and this will NOT become an annual event.

If you didn't click through all the links, here is the Ofoto picture album. Thanks to my legal counsel for acting as the photojournalist for the day.

"We are the champions, my friend...We'll keep on fighting til the end...We are the champions, we are the champions! No time for losers, cuz we are the champions...of the world!

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