It was bagels with a side of beef Sunday at Temple Kol Emeth’s Noshfest in east Cobb in a rematch of last year’s bagel eating contest.
Returning champion Brandon “Da Garbage Disposal” Clark faced off against Dale “Mouth of the South” Boone for bragging rights and a $500 grand prize.
Bagel eating aficionados may recall 2018’s matchup in which Clark, of St. Louis, Illinois, donned a bald cap in mockery of Boone and proceeded to dominate the competition by wolfing down a record seven bagels in just five minutes.
This year, Clark left the bald cap at home, but the animosity between the two was still there.
“I’m Dale Boone, and I’m bringing the title back to Atlanta,” Boone said in his introduction. “No more outsiders. No more outsiders.”
Boone hails from Brookhaven.
Clark was all business in his introduction.
“My name is Brandon Clark, I go by ‘Da Garbage Disposal,’ and I’m just here to pay some bills,” he said.
The two professional eaters were joined on the stage by three amateur eaters. Each had a tray of seven bagels before them.
When the clock started, each of them sunk their claws into the Bagelicious plain bagels. Most utilized a bowl of water to soften the bagels before consumption. Some left their bagels into the water whole, while others tore them into chunks first.
Essentially, it was five minutes of people jamming wet bagels into their faces as efficiently as possible.
Shortly after the halfway mark came a Noshfest first, as Clark held up his empty tray and motioned for more bagels. With time still on the clock, he had already broken his own record of seven bagels and was ready for more.
Da Garbage Disposal managed to dispose of another bagel and a half before time ran out, shattering his previous record with a total of 8.5 bagels down the hatch. None of the other competitors polished off their first seven bagels.
After the competition had ended and Clark was handed his winnings, there was a confrontation between him and Boone.
It’s not clear what sparked the bagel brouhaha, but Boone could be heard telling Clark, “This is my town, remember that,” and “Get home safe if you can.”
The argument did not get physical, but a Noshfest volunteer stepped between the two men. Boone left toward the parking lot immediately after the spat.
According to publications and social media posts from within the competitive eating world, Boone is infamous with other eaters. His career has included suspensions and accusations of cheating.
“Boone has maintained a reputation as a combative competitor who has disrupted some eating events with verbal excess,” reads his profile on majorleagueeating. com. “He is not well liked.”
Speaking to the MDJ afterward, Clark said he was not bothered.
“I think I met that guy Boone three or four times, but he’s a sore loser,” he said. “I just do the event, and you’e got to take the good with the bad. … He just tries anything to get under peoples’ skin, but I already expect that.”
Clark said for the most part, his job is a lot of fun. He travels around the country attending contests at events like Noshfest and taking part in eating challenges at restaurants.
He said he likes the contest at Noshfest because it’s only five minutes and bagels are relatively easy – he said his hardest contest of the year is a 15-minute jalapeno-eating contest held in February.
According to competitive eating website www.EatFeats.com, Clark took second place in this year’s La Costena Jalapeno Eating Contest in Laredo, Texas. He made it through 178 peppers in 15 minutes, earning $1,500.
But Clark said while bagels are better to scarf than jalapenos, chowing down on chewy dry bagels at a rate of more than one per minute is no walk in the park either.
“Last year, I was not expecting them to be that hard – They’re not hard, but they’re difficult to eat,” he said. “I thought, ‘OK, it’s bagels, I’m probably going to do a lot more than this,’ but they’re chewy, you’ve got to dunk them in the water. It’s different.”
Clark also said competitive eating is just as often as challenging for the mind as it is for the stomach.
“You never know the type of food you’re going to get, how long has it been sitting out, so in my brain, as soon as I bite it, that’s when I figure out what the challenge is,” he said. “With pizza challenges, you want to eat the crust last sometimes, but it depends on how chewy it is. Sometimes I want to eat the crust first. So my brain switches up as soon as I know the texture of everything. It’s kind of like Tetris in my brain. … It’s more than just eating. People think it’s just eating, but there’s where you get the water, what hand are you going to use, how fast, where are you going to dunk, are you going to squirt the bottle? There’s a lot more to it.”
Despite the brief bagel brouhaha, Noshfest, now in its ninth year, was a hit with the crowd of eaters in attendance.
The yearly festival is a celebration of Jewish culture, from music and dancing to arts and crafts, but the main event is the food, which runs the gamut from bagels and blintzes to potato knishes, hamantashen and rugelach.