BY Valentine Wilson

On Friday October 4th, the Roundhouse hosted the first round of its annual cheeseburger eating contest, The Big Cheese, as a part of the week’s Oztoberfest activities.

The rules of the game were simple: scarf down three burgers as fast as you can. The first one to raise an empty hand is crowned winner. The lucky champion of the event will win not only eternal glory, but also free burgers at Roundhouse for a year.

The winner of the first round, Oskar, and second placed John, will progress to the next round on October 11th. From there they will need to pass the third (October 18th), and final (October 25th) rounds to win the title.

The announcer first introduced the contestants by asking them why they decided to participate. The answers from the first and second place winners exemplified the extreme contrast between the two students. Oskar, the winner of the competition, answered that he was peer pressured into competing. On the other hand, John, the runner-up, confidently stated he was “here to win”.

Image: Oskar, who was "peer pressured" into competing.

The contestants’ eating habits also showed these differences in intent. While Oskar calmly nibbled away at his burger, unfazed by the audience and photographers, John’s style carried much more interest. John decided to stand up while eating his burger, puffing out his chest, exposing his American flag patterned shorts as a homage to the origin of the cheeseburger.

Image: John, who was "here to win". 

He ate with the passion of a person who came to win, capturing the attention of the audience and raucous applause until Oskar quietly raised his hand signalling John’s defeat.

Image: John's unique eating style.

The competition reminded me of the adage of the tortoise and the hare. While John ate with the intensity of a winner, he had to make frequent stops to gulp down water. Oskar on the other hand came in slow but held steady throughout the race.

Image: Oskar raising the winning hand.

After the race was over, I decided to interview Oskar to attempt to gain a glimpse into his strategy and how he prepared to win.

I was wondering, is this your first burger eating contest?

Oskar: Yes, this was my first.

Did you do anything to prepare?

I didn’t eat today and drank mostly water yesterday. I did a bit of research as well. There are a lot of weird tips like: stretch your stomach and do all this weird stuff. I only had three days to prepare.

This contest was a pretty close one, I was wondering were there any points where you were going to give up, where you were feeling down, thinking I can’t do this anymore?

Oh yeah, I was three quarters of the way through my first one and the other guy was onto round two standing up, it was quite intimidating. Other than that, I felt pretty confident. Right at the end when I had to chew and get that last bit down it was a bit stressful.

So, what are you thinking while you’re eating, are you chanting a mantra, like “just keep going, just keep swimming”?

No, I am just in the zone, just eating. Not thinking anything else.

How do you feel right now?

I feel very full. But I am going out for dinner later today.

Are you eating more burgers?

Thankfully we are getting dumplings.

For the next round are you nervous? How are you going to prepare?

I’m not nervous, I did alright this round, I’m just going to do my best.

Are there any people you want to thank for their support?

I just wanted to give a shout-out to my girlfriend Monica. She’s not even here, she FaceTimed in to watch. She’s here for me always.

Thank you, Oskar, for giving me some insight into your mentality and eating process! Best of luck next week. Stay tuned for Round 2 of The Big Cheese happening this Friday at the Roundhouse.

You can find all the details about The Big Cheese over on the Facebook event!

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