Having just put down a three-pound peanut-butter-bacon cheeseburger, my hands still covered in peanut butter, I stared at just less than a pound of fries, amazed at how much I hated the curly bastards and how slowly I was consuming them.
It was then that Rock Rest Lodge General Manager Bob Knuth sidled up and showed me a picture of the last person to polish off the Nutt Buster burger -- four pounds of burger and fries.
I looked down at the image of a pint-sized woman smiling wide behind an empty platter that appeared to be about half her size. Knuth informed me that she'd inhaled the meal in nine minutes and twenty-four seconds, then proceeded to pack in two other items from the menu.
"Fuck me," I thought, as my primitive male instincts tugged at my conscience.
"You're not going to let that little woman out-eat you, are you?!" screamed the excessively macho caveman portion of my brain.
Still, I was beginning to think the pound of fries would be my downfall. The actual burger had coated my hands in a gross layer of peanut butter, cheese and grease, but was surprisingly tasty and went down in under ten minutes. It took me the remainder of the half-hour time limit to consume about half the fries, which, after sitting for almost ten minutes, were only slightly less appealing to eat than sandpaper.
Cold, excessively dry and with an extra-crusty exterior, the curly fries reminded me of the baskets of fries we got in grade school that tasted like they were fried the day before and then stuck under the heat lamp to warm up. I was amazed at how long I had to chew them before I could swallow. It didn't look like I was going to finish.
Knuth advised that one man who's conquered this challenge more than once crushes the fries into balls to get the air out before eating them. I tried that. Fail. Knuth suggested I jump up and down to make more room. I tried that. Fail with a side of nausea. "Dunk them in water," said Britt Chester, the man behind the camera. I tried that. Fail cubed.
The Rock Rest Lodge, a large saloon-type restaurant and bar in Golden, started the challenge about a year ago. Knuth says that about sixty or seventy people have tried it; five have succeeded. For their efforts, they received the meal for free, got their picture on the wall and won a $25 bar tab. The others -- myself included -- had to each pay $12.50 for the burger and even more for the psychic shame, then go home a little closer to heart disease.
"We've always had the peanut-butter burger on the menu, and I just decided to super-size it, put it on steroids," said Knuth.
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Knuth chuckled when asked if he'd ever taken the burger down himself. "I just created it," he explained, with an "I'm not an idiot" look on his face.
In all fairness, Knuth had recommended that I tackle the fries first, while they were warm. I stubbornly believed I could shovel them down in any state. While the odd peanut-butter burger might be the star, the fries are the villain. The evil, cold, dry, awful villain.
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