Champ scoops way to victory
By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó Ever since he was a child, Alex Holbrook has had a “freakish” ability to eat large amounts of ice cream quickly.
“Ice cream has always been something that I could eat at an extremely fast rate,” he said. “It’s one of those stupid human tricks that everybody has but no one wants to admit.”
When the 26-year-old Concord resident heard about an ice cream eating contest at the Kannapolis Bruster’s this summer, he decided to give it a shot.
He won, qualifying for the regional contest Sept. 13 in Charlotte before the Carolina Panthers home opener.
He won that, too, consuming three pints of ice cream, or 48 ounces, in three minutes. He walked away with an autographed Julius Peppers jersey, two tickets to the game and the title of first Ice Cream Eating Champion of Charlotte.
The average-sized Holbrook, who weighs 175 pounds and stands 5 feet 11, ate even more ice cream ó a half-gallon ó during the qualifying match in Kannapolis in July.
A half-gallon in three minutes. Ouch.
Bruster’s billed the contest as the Brain Freeze Showdown.
But not for Holbrook.
“I have never had a brain freeze in my life,” he said.
Holbrook beat 23 other qualifiers by employing what he calls the “scoop and chomp method.”
Rules prevented the contestants from putting the ice cream container to their lips. So Holbrook held it as close to his face as possible and gripped the spoon as low as he could.
“I guess you could say I was shoveling it into my mouth,” he said.
He ate so much more ice cream in Kannapolis because it was soft serve, he said. The vanilla ice cream at the regional contest in Charlotte was hard-packed and dyed blue in honor of the Panthers.
“It was thick and buttery,” he said. “It was really, really difficult.”
After the Kannapolis contest, Holbrook suffered what is delicately termed in the competitive eating world as a “reversal of fortune,” he said.
This did not affect his score.
An aspiring stand-up comedian, Holbrook has a lot of new material for his act.
“Growing up, everybody wanted to see me eat ice cream,” he said. “Like I told my parents, I’ve waited 26 years for an ice cream eating contest that matters.”
After growing up in Ohio, Holbrook moved to Concord in 2005 when his parents retired to Florida. His brother Bryan followed in 2006 and attends Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Alex Holbrook works as a regional supervisor for Crossmark, a retail merchandising company.
Also representing the Kannapolis Bruster’s were Brooke Messimer, 11, who came in third place in the 11-15 age group, and A.J. Gill, 10, who came in second place in the 7-10 age group.
All the winners walked onto the Panthers field before the game, featured on the Jumbotron.
“That was really cool,” Holbrook said.