Man v. Food understands something about America — we are a nation of eaters. As such, they've invented the Man v. Food Nation challenge — wherein the show will come to one city to film an aspiring (or current) competitive eater take down a monster plate of food.
Randy Santel is Kansas City's hopeful, one of five finalists left in the challenge — and he's got his eyes set on a 55-ounce burger called The Super Flea at the Westport Flea Market. The winner will be determined by online voting that ends on Thursday, August 11, with Man v. Food filming an episode in the winner's hometown.Â
"If anybody was going to be doing it, it would need to be me," says Santel, who estimates that he has sixty-four eating challenges under his belt since he began competitive eating in March of last year.
Knowing that's it not just about quantity — although Santel believes he can eat up to eight pounds of food in a sitting — the Kansas City eating man has been working on his speed because the Flea Market only gives you 30 minutes to clear your plate. In the past two months, he's won area food challenges in Topeka and Independence, downing 18 jalapenos in two minutes and 21 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
"I used to play football in college. I just treat challenge days like a game day," Santel says.
If he wins, this won't be his first experience on camera. In 2010, the Overland Park resident won the Men's Health Spartacus challenge because he was judged to have had the best fitness transformation, earning him an appearance on the Starz show Spartacus: Gods of the Arena.Â
"I stay in shape while I do all this," Santel promises, citing frequent trips to Title Boxing and a daily workout in his second bedroom, which he calls his "sanctuary."
And he pledges to return to the Westport Flea Market, regardless of the challenge's outcome, even after eating 55 ounces of hamburger, a half-pound of cheese, a half-pound of bacon and two pounds of fries.
"Oh yeah, I'll be back. They haven't been the best burger for 25 years for no reason," Santel says.Â