Brandon Clark is nacho normal Hicks Bar-B-Que patron — and he’s got the video to prove it.
The Cahokia resident completed the “Monster Challenge” on Friday morning in just 23 minutes and 30 seconds. He is the first person of about 50 people to succeed.
“It’s seven-and-a-half pounds of nachos,” restaurant owner Al Hicks said. “The challenge has been around about three years. We’ve had a few people come within a pound or half a pound of completing it, but he is the first to do it.”
Clark said his motivation for competitive eating stems from the 1988 movie “The Great Outdoors.”
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“I went to that big steakhouse in Texas when I was 16,” he said. “But my dad didn’t let me do (the steak challenge). I don’t think he had faith in me. But I eat fast — and I eat a lot.”
People who order the $34.99 plate of nachos at Hicks have an hour to eat seven pounds of it. If they do they get the nachos for free, a T-shirt, a bottle of barbeque sauce and their picture on the wall.
Clark said he completed the Crown Candy challenge a few weeks ago by drinking five milkshakes in six minutes and 22 seconds. He said he also completed the Mama Campisi’s challenge within the last month by eating a “crazy big meatball” and six pounds of spaghetti in about 20 minutes.
“The slower you go, it’s rough because it swells up in your stomach,” Clark said. “After a certain amount of time your brain tells you ‘I’m tired.’ So, I just do it as quick as I can.”
Clark said he’s done about 10 eating competitions in the last year and half, several of which happened in the past month. He says two days before the challenge and two days after the challenge he drinks lots of water and eats only cabbage.
“I might have gained five pounds, but the water and cabbage counteract the calories,” Clark said. “... I do all kinds of activities, including mountain biking.”
Clark took second place in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest qualifier at Busch Stadium this year when he ate 26.5 hotdogs in 10 minutes.
Clark said Friday was a good day to attempt the “Monster Challenge” because he had the day off, and it was Cinco de Mayo. His friend came along to film Clark and cheer him on.
“Everybody was watching (Clark) — any time anybody tackles the nachos everyone watches,” Hicks said. “It’s a spectator sport, for sure.”
He added that about 15 to 20 customers were dining at the restaurant when Clark completed the challenge.
Hicks said the nachos consist of chips, smoked brisket, smoked pulled pork, smoked chicken, two kinds of cheese, green onions, diced tomatoes, jalapenos, barbecue sauce and sour cream.
“(The staff) just couldn’t believe,” Hicks said. “If you see it, it’s just enormous. We top our nacho off with a rib ... It’s just an incredible amount of food.”
Clark said his mom worries about his health with all this competitive eating, but his brother is on board and even taking on somewhat of a “manager” role.
“Give me another month, and I might have a few more to add to the list,” Clarke said.