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Competitive eaters go head-to-head over bull testicles

When we were younger, Rocky Mountain oysters were used to play a cruel joke. We were all victims at some point, and we downed a couple of the fried testicles before learning what they were and turning white, vowing to never touch them again.

The gross-out factor of a food considered part of the local cuisine makes the unsavory bull parts a perfect subject for a competitive eating contest.

And tomorrow, at the Lady Luck Casino Black Hawk, 340 Main Street, fifteen professional eaters - including Marco Marquez and Bryan "Big Sexy" Beard from Denver - will go mouth-to-mouth with amateurs, eating as many bulls' balls as possible. Besides a $5,000 prize, the voracious consumers will be competing for the honor of holding a world record for eating the largest number of testicles in the shortest amount of time.

The Rocky Mountain oyster competition is just one on a circuit of competitive eating events sanctioned by the Major League Eaters, the professional organization that oversees the spirited ingestion.

Elissa Plastino, brand manager for the Isle of Capri Casino chain that's hosting a number of these contests, said that each venue gets to choose its own edible subject. The places usually select a local food -- something timely or an item specific to the hosting restaurant. She cites pickles from an in-casino deli, moon pies in Missouri, and peanut butter and banana sandwiches meant to celebrate Elvis's birthday.

We'd rather competitively eat any of those things than stuff our faces with Rocky Mountain oysters.

The fun starts with introductions tomorrow at 1:50 p.m. The contest starts at 2.

Bring your own Pepto. We've get heartburn just thinking about it.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk