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Chapel Hill holds watermelon eating contest

Chapel Hill resident Richard Crump competes in the 2017 DSI Watermelon Eating Contest. 

Chapel Hill resident Richard Crump competes in the 2017 DSI Watermelon Eating Contest. 

Richard Crump slogged through watermelon guts to find glory as the winner of this year's DSI Watermelon Eating Contest, held in Kenan Memorial Stadium as a part of the The Town of Chapel Hill’s Fourth of July Celebration.

Crump, a 46-year-old Chapel Hill resident, won two tickets to a UNC football game and certificate of appreciation.

The competition consisted of three heats held outside of Kenan Memorial Staidum, with a final round held on the field. In the preliminary rounds, contestants had to eat one-quarter of a watermelon, then were expected to eat another in the finals.

Crump said that since he qualified in the first heat for the final round, he a little bit of an advantage.

“I had more time for (the watermelon) to digest,” Crump said. “But I still feel really bloated and really sticky.”

Contestant Maggie Mae O'Daniel said she felt very refreshed after her first-heat defeat. Although she said this was not her best moment in competition, there were obstacles to her original strategy.

“I was just going to swallow big chunks,” O'Daniel said. “But then I started choking, so then I took it slowly and I lost.”

Crump experienced a different set of difficulties during the competition.

“It was a much-curved watermelon,” Crump said. “I had to break it into pieces to try and get the rest of the pulp.”

DSI Comedy, a local company of comedians, hosted the event for the fifth year in a row. Kit FitzSimons, who has been one of the emcees every year that DSI has hosted the event, said most participants have trouble eating the watermelon.

“We’ve had people try to sneak stuff by us,” FitzSimons said. “They have tried to scrape off some watermelon with their teeth, but then not close their mouth again and so it just falls down across their laps.”

But Crump didn't resort to tricks — just a simple winning strategy.

“Just eat watermelon,” Crump said. “Try and keep yourself upright so it’s easier to swallow and little bites and swallow it as quick as possible.”

FitzSimons said it's important to be careful during the watermelon eating contest.

“Don’t put yourself in danger of going home with a stomach ache,” FitzSimons said. “Eat as much watermelon as you want and just have fun with it.”

Crump said he's thankful to his two kids who volunteered him for the contest.

“It’s down to them that I won,” Crump said.


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