Berks man preparing for first Wing Bowl appearance

'Let's have fun with it'

PHILADELPHIA - Steve Hillegass is a proven competitive eater, having shattered a record at the Pennsylvania Dutch eating contest at the Reading Fair in August 2017, but to him, it doesn't mean a thing until he eats the wings.

He'll be competing in Wing Bowl 26 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday.

"It's kind of scary. It sounds like a lot of fun," said Hillegass. "It's more work than I ever imagined."

He has his entourage, along with his Eagles-themed float, ready for a grand entrance. It's not just for his fandom, but the commonality they share.

"Underdogs! I'm the underdog here," said Hillegass. "I'm as underdog as they get."

No one in the Wing Bowl can eat without the meat. That's a job for P.J. Whelihan's Pub and Restaurant. The Haddon Township, New Jersey, location will provide the wings, but managers at the Spring Township location dish what makes them the choice of the Wing Bowl.

"For one, they're fresh. They're never frozen," said Matt Andrews, the Spring Township restaurant's kitchen manager, "so they come through the back door and get cooked while they're fresh. Never hits the freezer once."

Hillegass stays humble, knowing he'll face some of the finest wing-eaters in the world.

"There's something that everybody has a little talent for," said Hillegass. "Let's have fun with it."

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