R.I.P. Wing Bowl: Philly gross-out fest comes to an end after 26 years

For 26 years, as Philadelphia football fans went without seeing their squad get anywhere near the Super Bowl, a sort of consolation event was held: “Wing Bowl,” the chicken-wing eating competition.

But no more. WIP sports radio host Angelo Cataldi announced Tuesday morning that Wing Bowl will be terminated – citing the fact that the Eagles did in fact win their first Super Bowl earlier in 2018.

“Wing Bowl, after 26 years now, is being put to rest this morning,” Cataldi, one of Wing Bowl’s original founders, announced Tuesday morning on WIP. “Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a very difficult decision to make because of our great affection for it. But WIP has decided to end Wing Bowl.”

“I can’t believe how emotional I feel about it being over,” he added.

“The only reason we ever did this was the Eagles never going to the Super Bowl, so the Eagles went to the Super Bowl and won the Super Bowl,” explained WIP co-host Al Morganti.

“It was your idea, it was the greatest idea you ever had,” Cataldi said. “That’s true,” Morganti acknowledged.

Wing Bowl rose from humble roots, founded by Cataldi and Morganti as a chicken-wing eating contest to be held the Friday morning before Super Bowl Sunday, to give Eagles fans something to do while other, better football teams sparred for the Lombardi Trophy.

But over the year it began to attract hundreds of fans and celebrity attendees like Dennis Rodman and Snooki. Wing Bowl was moved to the Wells Fargo Center where tickets were sold to the event which, astonishingly, began around 5 a.m. on the Friday before Super Bowl Sunday.

Wing Bowl

A competitor enters Wing Bowl surrounded by Wingettes. Credit: HughE Dillon

Wing Bowl: a Philadelphia tradition

Wing Bowl was perhaps best known for the presence of “Wingettes,” performers who served the competitors towering plates of greasy, sauce-covered chicken wings while cheering them on as they stuffed their maws with genetically modified, factory-raised, antibiotic-treated chicken meat.

One Wingette, Morgan O’Brien was granted the moniker of the “Ultimate Wingette,” after Bucks County plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Skalicky gave her breast enhancements, nasal refinement and lip filler in January 2013 ahead of Wing Bowl 21.

During Wing Bowl 22, real Philadelphia Eagle Jason Kelce participated in the contest.

Former champs like five-time winner William “El Wingador” Simmons, known for showing up to Wing Bowl in a giant chicken costume riding a motorcycle, and pleading guilty to dealing cocaine after a 2012 arrest following his last Wing Bowl appearance, in 2017 launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to fundraise for his own fried chicken restaurant. His memoir, “Snow On The Barb Wire,” was published in 2016 and is available for sale on Amazon.

But while some decried the event as “sexist,” perhaps women had the last laugh. In the final two Wing Bowls in hstory, the prize was taken home by Molly Schuyler, a mother of four from the Midwest – downing a truly nauseating 501 chicken wings in 2018, just before the Eagles trounced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, 41-33. Schuyler won a 2018 Hyundai Sonata, $5,000 and a ring and medal for her achievement.

Relive the memories of Wing Bowl’s past online at WingBowlForever.com.

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