Over the next few months, while waiting for Slider to be published, I’ll be profiling heroes of the sport, both IRL and fictional. Today I present a tribute to a character from the book.
Although in this case, “tribute” might not be the right word.
Virgil “El Gurgitator” Schutlebecker
Weight: 247 lbs
Virgil “El Gurgitator” Schutlebecker, better known as simply “The Gurge,” is more antihero than hero. As Jooky Garafalo once said, “Virgil looks like the love-child of Gary Busey’s and Nick Nolte’s mugshots, and he has a personality to match.
In fact, the Gurge is arguably the most despised competitive eater on the planet. Known for his capacious appetite, dirty tricks, and unrelenting trash talk, the Gurge has been disqualified from more contests than he has won.
Nevertheless, he is a true talent, the holder of several records (some disputed), and a force to be reckoned with.
“If the Gurge didn’t cheat, he’d rule this sport,” says top competitor Jooky Garafalo. “But he just can’t help himself. Dude was born a jerk.”
For example, the Gurge won a chicken wing event in Pennsylvania—six pounds of wings in ten minutes. The results were disputed. The second place finisher claimed that the Gurge had stuffed several wings down his shirt. Still, the Gurge won by more than two pounds—no matter how many wings he rat-holed, he had his opponents so dominated he would have won anyway. Maybe it’s like Jooky says—he just can’t help himself.
There’s even a word for getting beaten—fairly or unfairly—by El Gurgitator. They say, “You’ve been Gurged.”
Next up: Jooky Garafalo