Boykin, 38, is competing in Hooters’ Worldwide Wing-Eating Championship in Clearwater, Fla. — the location of the first wing chain’s restaurant — against established competitive eaters Michelle Lesco and Miki Sudo, who have devoured upwards of 152 and 192 wings, respectively.
He hopes to hold his own in the competition that he qualified for at a Hooters restaurant in Augusta by eating 88 wings in 10 minutes.
A broker for Pallet Central, which specializes in selling wooden pallets, Boykin has consumed large amounts of foods in front of crowds ranging from 20 and 500 people.
He says it’s a rush.
“It’s weird,” Boykin said. “There’s this little moment where crowds start cheering, and it just feels good, win or lose.”
Hundreds more will make their way to today’s wing-eating competition, said Jessica Highsmith, spokeswoman for the event, which draws international interest.
“This is only the second time the chicken wing-eating discipline has been part of a championship circuit to identify and crown a world champion,” Highsmith said.
It’s the end of a tour that kicked off in Panama City, Fla., at the end of March and will culminate Monday, which is recognized as National Chicken Wing Day.
Boykin is consuming between 1 and 2 gallons of water to prepare for the event and planned to stop eating at 11 a.m. Wednesday to fast until the competition this evening.
Wings aren’t the only food Boykin likes to eat in bulk. He’s participated in eating competitions featuring hotdogs, bratwurst, pancakes, oysters, crawfish and slug burgers — a Mississippi delicacy made from pork, beef and soy beans.
The competitions have taken him across the Southeast including the cities of Cincinnati and New Orleans.
“Anything within eight hours, I think about it and drive, visit the town a little bit and make a weekend of it,” Boykin said.