By Kevin Wright Special to Published Nov 08, 2006 at 8:46 AM

For a while now, I have been going to WOW Café & Wingery on Farwell with a bunch of buddies to watch football games on the weekends. We discovered the place one day while hungover and looking for a place close to us to get some food. Not only did we find a place with a great atmosphere for watching sports, also with amazing food -- in particular the wings. (I'm not talking about the little greasy bar-food wings you get at most places. I'm talking about big meaty man-wings, the kind you can make a full meal out of. They come in like 17 different flavors, my personal favorite being Asian Teriyaki.)

So one day not too long ago, a bunch of us were over there on a Saturday watching a Badgers game. We noticed a sign on the table advertising a WoW Wingman eating contest.

Now, I am a pretty big fan of competitive eating. Ever since watching the Glutton Bowl on TV a few years ago, I have wanted to try my hand at an eating contest. For those of you who missed the Glutton Bowl, it was truly an amazing experience. Watching a man eat seven whole sticks of butter in five minutes changed my life.

After a few rounds of wings and beer, and amid much bragging and one-ups-manship, we all decided to enter. We called the manager over to get the scoop. It turns out the contest would involve eating as many wings as you can for 10 minutes and then calculating total consumption by weight. I asked what flavor wings and he responded, "Buffalo 2."

Damn, if it was Teriyaki I could have guaranteed a victory.

There were three great things about this contest. First, in addition to your wings, a $20 entry fee gets you a free t-shirt and a WoW glass, not to mention whatever you want to drink during the contest. Second, the winner gets a trip for two to New Orleans for the next round of competition. Finally, besides my friends and me, there was only one guy who entered, a man known only as "Big Nate."

That night I went home and checked the IFOCE (International Federation of Competitive Eating) Web site for some training tips. The first thing I noticed is that most of the eaters had nicknames (it seems Big Nate is one step ahead of me). Next I looked up the current record for Buffalo Wings. The record was 5.09 lbs. in 12 minutes held by ... a 105 lb. woman from Virginia! Calculating for my time of 10 minutes and my weight of 230 lbs., I should be able to eat roughly 8.5 lbs. of wings. That sounded like a lot. There must be more to this.

The following Saturday, I decided to do a little practice round to work on my technique. Nothing crazy, just 10 Buffalo 2 wings for speed, just to see what it would be like. I made my order and lined up my wings. One thing you are probably aware of is that Buffalo wings come in two distinct forms: the upper wing, consisting of a single bone, and the lower wing, consisting of two bones. The upper was easy enough to figure out: just cram it in my mouth. The lower wing posed some greater challenges. After some experimentation, I decided to go with the "split and strip" method. That consists of ripping the two bones in half and basically sucking the meat off of them. It worked all right, but will take some more perfecting.

After eating like a maniac for about two minutes with pretty much everyone in the restaurant staring at me, I looked down to survey my work. Not bad -- the bones were relatively free of meat (good for a contest based on weight) and I didn't spend to much time on each one (good for speed). Satisfied with my effort, I made my way to the bathroom to hose myself off.

So that has basically been my training pattern, and the one I will continue until contest time. Last time I checked, it was still just me, my buddies and "Big Nate" battling for a trip to New Orleans. So if anyone is looking for something to do on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., head on down to WoW on Farwell and watch the mayhem. Or if you are feeling especially bold, you can enter the contest yourself and take on the likes of Kevin "Fathead" Wright, Andy "Tight-pants" Hansen, Drew "The Drunk" O'Malley, Johnny "F'n" Hyland, Brian "Insert Name Here" Siegel and, of course, "Big Nate."

Kevin Wright Special to

A 2004 UW-Madison Grad, Kevin now lives on the East Side where he spends his free time watching VH1 countdown specials and experimenting with his new deep fryer.

Knee deep in his third year of teaching Special Ed in the suburbs, Kevin often finds solace in making fun of his roommates' fascination of sappy network dramas. "Those things are crap," he often remarks.

In addition to a deep appreciation for education, Kevin is also a devout Wisconsin sports fan, a friendly bouncer at a North Avenue bar, and spends his summers directing a local summer camp.

If you are lucky enough to see Kevin wandering about town, be sure to ask him about his attempts to perfect his Borat impersonation, his latest fiscally-unwise Star Wars Lego purchase, and how proud of him his girlfriend is.