Half handshake, half chest-bump hug – 5 stars
Chest bump – 4 stars
Fist bump – 3 stars
High five – 2 stars
Handshake – 1 star
Manly ass slap – ½ star
Fone and fone – 0 stars
Restaurant: Pointer’s Delivery
Location: 1023 S. Big Bend
I come to you today humbled. I come to you today embarrassed. I come to you today less of a man.
I come to you today as a failure.
Yesterday, Jeff and I attempted the Pointersaurus Challenge at Pointer’s Delivery. And we failed. Miserably.
Here were some key takeaways before I tell you the whole story:
- Bacon actually doesn’t make everything better
- Our eyes, confidence, and appetites were much bigger than our actual stomachs
- The challenge is much, much, much harder than expected
- This was our first attempt, but it won’t be our last (at least not for me)
Before I even get into the who, what, when, where, why, and how let’s take a moment to look back at a couple of my other eating competitions (these two examples do not include me falling half a piece shy of finishing a large stuffed pizza at Pi last year for $20):
So, clearly the precedent is that I never fair all that well with these things. But that didn’t stop me from trying.
Pointer’s has been doing the Pointersaurus Challenge since 2001. The rules are pretty simple. Eat a Pointersaurus in 60 minutes or less. The challenge starts at 3 o’clock every day, and only one team is allowed to compete per day. You can’t puke or use the restroom until after the 60 minutes is over. You have to choose at least two meat toppings, or four veggie toppings. You can’t leave the restaurant area for any reason during the competition. The clock starts on the first bite of pizza. No crusts left behind. No blotting grease with your napkin. And you have to pay for the pizza before you start ($50). And that’s about it. Pretty simple.
$500. Plus your original $50 back, plus your name on the website. Plus the glory of finishing. Oh, and free soda or water while you eat.
28”. 12 lbs. Enough said.
I’ve always wanted to do the Pointersaurus Challenge. Even years ago when I first heard about it, but finding someone to do it with me was always the real challenge. At work several weeks ago I was talking about it, and Jean said, “Jeff (her husband) will do it with you. He looooooves pizza.” Before I was even able to officially ask him my phone rang, and when I picked up all I heard was, “Whatever you have to do to set up a pizza eating contest, set that shit up.” Needless to say, he was in. So now that we had the players, we had to set up the event.
Before deciding on the time and place, we first had to decide on the toppings. To do so we journeyed over there for dinner one night. We got two different pizzas – a ham and bacon and a pepperoni and sausage. We couldn’t come to terms on four veggies (as we both don’t enjoy mushrooms or olives), so meat was our only option. We both ate the pizzas with ease, giving us the confidence we needed moving forward. And neither of us liked the sausage, and we were both way into the ham and bacon, so we decided right then and there that it was the way we were gonna go. We told the guy we wanted to do the competition the following Friday, and he said, “The earliest opening I got is the 21st.” Wow. They were booked solid for two weeks, and there wasn’t a Friday open for weeks after that. So Tuesday the 21st it would be.
In the two weeks leading up I ate a ton of pizza, and big meals in general. Jeff did the same. In the days leading up I was drinking a gallon of water in 30 minutes about four times a day to stretch my stomach. I was peeing more than a pregnant chick. Or my dad. I wanted no excuse for not finishing, other than “I’m a pussy.”
The day of the event I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a small salad around 11, and another gallon of water to curb my hunger until 3, and to keep the stomach nice and big. And the water would be out of my stomach by the time the eating commenced.
At 2:30 I headed over to meet my destiny.
Jeff was already there with Jean and the kids. He had a big smile on his face. Not a worry in the world. I too was feeling pretty good at this point after spending a couple days convinced that I wouldn’t be able to hold up my end of the bargain. We said, “We’re here to destroy the Pointersauras.” “You’d be second guys to do it this week,” he told us. Turns out two doctors did it that Monday, so now the pressure was really on.
We ordered the pizza, paid, and sat patiently.
And after about 12 minutes, the pizza came out of the oven and onto our table. Jeff and I took one look at it, and then our eyes met. We didn’t even have to say anything. We both knew what the other was thinking; we got this.
“No problem,” he said.
“We’ll be done in 30 minutes, if not sooner. It’s almost too easy,” I responded.
(keep in mind I wear a size 13)
The guys behind the counter advised that we wait about 10 minutes for the pizza to cool a bit, since the clock didn’t start until we took our first bite. But Jeff was antsy. After waiting about five minutes we decided it was time to dig in.
I took a deep breath, reminded myself to just eat at my normal pace, and posed for the camera.
Then we both took a bite, and it was on.
Things were going really well. After about 10 minutes we each were on a pretty good pace, and if we were able to keep it up we’d have the thing finished in around 40 minutes. But keeping it up was the problem (and I swear I’ve never had an issue keeping it up. Except one time, but I’ll spare my wife the embarrassment and not share the story here.).
I can’t tell you how bad I was sweating. I took my shirt off five minutes into this thing and went with the tank top. If it wasn’t for the health department I think I would have gone shirtless. They keep the place at 110°, adding just one more obstacle to the challenge.
The pizza definitely had a lot more of the toppings than expected. When we did our test run they had just little itty-bitty pieces of bacon and ham, and there weren’t a ton of them. But on this thing they were cut a little bigger, and piled much, much higher. As Jeff said, these weren’t pieces of ham and bacon scattered on top, they were ham sandwiches and BLT’s on every piece of pizza.
And they were salty.
By the 15-minute mark I was struggling. The saltiness of the bacon just became more and more overwhelming. Every bite became a chore. By the 20-minute mark I was pretty much done, and at that point I was eating just to see how much more I could eat, and trying to at least match what Jeff was doing. But by the 25-minute mark he was pretty much cooked as well. As we both attempted to power along, we both had the same thought; “I don’t wanna puke.”
We then came to find out that the two guys the day before did puke. In fact, the one guy puked 6 seconds after the timer went off. All over the floor. So not only did the guys behind the counter have to dish out $500, plus a refund on the pizza, they had to also clean up a pile of pizza puke sitting in front of their counter. That, my friends, is what you call adding insult to injury.
The most enjoyable part of the challenge was hearing the stories of other competitors. Joey Chestnut (the hot dog eating champ) took the pizza down (with the help of his wife, supposedly) in 17 minutes, setting a record. And they said he ate at least ¾ of the pizza himself. Pretty impressive. And Eater X has also completed the challenge. Before the two doctors the day before us, the last pair to finish was a couple of ladies. Apparently their Mizzou football-playing boyfriends drove down and threw their hat in the ring, and failed miserably. And after properly taunting their boyfriends, they stopped by the next day and took the thing down themselves. Apparently they were a couple of “110 lb girls”, but the same guy who said that also said the doctors were skinny like me. So I’ll go out on a limb here and say the girls were probably more in the 150 lb range.
By the 40-minute mark it was officially over. Sure, we’d attempt a bite here or there, but it was futile. The size of the pizza, combined with the saltiness of the ham and bacon, were too much for us to overcome. The weird thing is I wasn’t stuffed, and if someone brought in a McDonald’s cheeseburger or an ice cream cone, I could have eaten it no problem. But I couldn’t eat any more of the pizza. Can’t explain it, that’s just the way it was.
When the bell rang we had completed just over half. Barely. The guys behind the counter were nice enough to tell us we did better than a lot of people, which made me feel a little better. Not much, but a little.
What did make me feel better was the fact that they said they have someone attempt it every single day, and that they’ve had 1,800 pairs attempt it, and only 17 have completed it.
So needless to say, this thing is no easy feat. I’ve run the Chicago Marathon the past two years in pretty hot weather, with a guy dying two years ago, and my buddy Cromie nearly dying this past year. And I can say for certain that I think the Pointersaraus Challenge is harder than a marathon.
There’s not much else to talk about. I’m ashamed. Jeff is ashamed. We thought we’d do better. Much better. The fact that we failed isn’t what pains us, the fact that we only finished half does. We thought we’d come up like seven or eight pieces short. Not twenty. Just a sad, sad display of manliness.
By the way, I really like the pizza at Pointer’s. I’d get it again (and will) outside of doing the challenge. Love their sauce. Love the cheese. Love everything except the sausage (and now the bacon).
Will I attempt the challenge again? Absolutely. Will Jeff? Yes, I think he will. Not with the expectation of finishing, but with the goal of doing better. Next time we won’t get the bacon, and might go with something like pepperoni and ham. I don’t know. We need to reflect, and regroup.
Pointersaurus, we’ll see you again in a couple months. And this time we’ll be ready.
Ready to fail.
But ready to fail a little bit less.
Pointer’s Pizza – Chest Bump
Pointersaurus Challenge - Half handshake, half chest-bump hug
Oh, and I just got some blood work back from the doctor, and apparently my cholesterol is through the roof. I'm assuming this isn't going to help.