Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Riverfront Park’s pie-eating contest won in just over 4 minutes

At the pie-eating contest in Riverfront Park, Chad Dalton, right, devours a pie in four minutes, four seconds on Monday, July 4, 2016 to win the contest, where contestants went face-first into blackberry pies donated by Cyrus O’Leary’s Pies. Following the pie contest was a hot dog eating contest. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Chad Dalton’s key to winning Riverfront Park’s July 4 pie eating contest was picturing the berry pie as a beverage.

“You just stick your face in and do it,” said Dalton, puckering his lips as if drinking from a straw.

Dalton, who lives in Montana but is planning to move to Spokane, was one of about 15 contestants who were given five minutes to eat a Cyrus O’Leary’s pie. Dalton, 47, won $100 by devouring his pie in 4 minutes, 4 seconds.

Only one other person finished a whole pie within 5 minutes. He was Russ Young, 27, a mill worker and former airman based at Fairchild Air Force Base. He started fast and looked on track for victory. But he slowed as he filled, finishing in second, about 20 seconds too late.

“The last couple bites were pretty heavy,” he said. At one point, he took a break to take a drink of water, but the water wouldn’t go down because it was blocked by pie.

Neither Dalton or Young came into the contest with an empty stomach. Young had a breakfast of eggs in a basket and bacon. Dalton had a hot dog about an hour before consuming the pie.

Bill Burke, who organizes Pig Out in the Park in Riverfront Park during the Labor Day weekend, was hired by the city to run the event. Anyone was allowed to enter as along as they signed a waiver, he said.

Dalton’s 13-year-old son, Jerry Dalton, was planning to participate in the hot dog eating contest later in the day.

His strategy: “Just eat like I do at Golden Corral,” he said. “I can eat 18 plates of food.”

But the teen’s strategy wasn’t enough. The hot dog contest was won by Frank Perales, 40, of Kennewick. He ate nine hot dogs in five minutes.