Wineka column – Kristy Spurlock bites into a new career

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Kristy Spurlock, a self-proclaimed “cheeseburger kind of girl,” is competitive by nature.
When her good friend, Amy Buckey, dared her to enter the Apple Ugly-eating contest at the Faith Fourth of July celebration this summer, she couldn’t let the challenge go unanswered.
In the preliminary round, while Amy choked and quit on half an Ugly, Spurlock downed seven of the glazed, 4-ounce pastries in 10 minutes. A pumped-up Spurlock decided to return for the finals several days later, when she consumed 10 Uglies in 10 minutes and went home with a third-place cash prize.
A competitive eater was born.
Dale “the Mouth of the South” Boone, a professional who won that first Apple Ugly-eating event with 17, recruited Spurlock on the spot and promised he would book her in some upcoming events sanctioned by the new league he had created, the World League of Competitive Eating.
A couple of weeks ago, Spurlock traveled with Amy to Anderson, S.C., for her first competition on the road ó a Skins’ hot dog-eating contest.
Hot dogs covered in chili aren’t quite her favorite food, but Spurlock managed to eat seven-and-a-half chili dogs and come in fifth. The only woman competitor, she beat out five guys.
Although she failed to win any cash, that trip provided a good omen for her future on the eating circuit. On the way home, she and Amy stopped for gas in South Carolina and Spurlock purchased a Pick 3 lottery ticket.
The next day, checking her numbers, she realized she had won $250.
Spurlock spent her 24th birthday Friday driving with her mom to the Chattahoochee Mountain Fair near Clarksville, Ga. A Skins’ hot dog-eating contest waited for her again, but she had a new strategy this time that she hoped would carry her into double digits.
In Anderson, she had separated the hot dogs from the buns. This weekend she planned to keep the chili dog together and eat it all at once.
You have to pace yourself with hot dogs, Spurlock reports. “You can’t really hurry because of the grease in the chili and the hot dog,” she says. “They’re all-beef hot dogs, but it’s the chili that gets you. It’s homemade and ground beef, and it’s heavy.”
The days before the contest she tried to expand her stomach through the significant intake of water and smoothies.
Spurlock finds herself talking to Boone, an Atlanta resident, about every day, and she has asked him to find her something else to eat beside hot dogs. Maybe banana pudding?
“Anything sweet would be nice,” she says.
Spurlock manages a convenience store in Spencer and lives in Salisbury.
At 5-6, 170 pounds, Spurlock’s frame doesn’t necessarily shout out that she’s a competitive eater, whose nickname is “The Lethal Kristy Lee.”
And she never would have believed people several months back if they had told her what the future held ó this frantic throwing of food down her gullet.
But she likes this sport, especially when the crowd starts rooting for her as the underdog woman against the guys.
“It’s a lot of fun, and I seem moderately good at it,” Spurlock says. “I’d like to take it as far as it possibly can go.”
She has one request, if you don’t mind:
Hold the chili.