Denver Deep Dish seeks stomachs of steel for Kentucky Derby pizza challenge

Several bars and restaurants around town are planning parties for Saturday's Kentucky Derby gallop, and while it's the opportune time to dig out your frilly hat and dress the part, at least one bar -- namely the Bar Car -- is predicting that at least a handful of people will be wearing pizza. Jason McGovern, who owns Denver Deep Dish, which is stationed in the back corner of the Bar Car, is hosting a deep-dish pizza eating contest -- and he's looking for a fistful of stomachs that can make it to the finish line.

See also: The twelve best pizzas in Denver

"We did it last year for the first time, and no one finished their pizza, but one guy came close, eating seven of the eight slices," says McGovern. It's a timed event -- you have exactly one hour to polish off a four-pound, deep-dish pizza topped with three ingredients of your choice -- and if you manage to stuff it all down your throat before the buzzer goes off, you'll wobble away with a trophy and bragging rights.

McGovern, who admits that it's not an easy feat, offers up this free advice: "Be smart when picking your toppings and pick bold flavors, because it's easy to get tired of pepperoni, really focus on trying to eat it as fast as possible, and eat a fairly-good-sized breakfast to prep your stomach," he warns.

He's nailed down two contestants already, but he's looking for three more. Everyone who enters receives a Denver Deep Dish T-shirt and a coupon for a free large, one topping pizza to use at a later date. And a free dose of indigestion.

If you manage to wolf down the pizza in under an hour, it's free; if you don't, then you'll need to pay up, but it's money that will be donated to the Rocky Mountain chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Bar Car Derby party, which also includes three bands, food booths, outdoor bars with mint julip specials and a hat contest, gets underway at noon in the parking lot just adjacent to the bar, and the pizza eating contest begins at 3 p.m. If you want to compete, contact McGovern at 303-905-6616.

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