Man eats 44 pork roll sandwiches to win the most Jersey eating contest

Published: Sep. 24, 2022

Six years ago, NJ Advance Media completed a comprehensive analysis to settle the simmering debate: Should the state’s singular specialty offbeat meat should be called pork roll or Taylor ham?

Saturday there was a certain competitive eating contest where there was no contest. It was 100% pork roll at RiverFest 2022 held at Trenton Thunder Ballpark.

Geoffrey Esper, of Massachusetts, the world’s No. 2 competitive eater as ranked by Major League Eating, scarfed down 44 pork roll sandwiches in ten minutes to claim the crown (and belt) of Case’s Pork Roll Eating Champion.

“Not quite as much as I was hoping,” he lamented after besting 11 other competitive eaters on a sunny fall day on the baseball field.

“I was hoping to get closer to 50 but they were crunchy,” he said pushing down on one of the buns enclosing the slices of pork roll, which were perhaps out in the open air a little too long to maintain full softness. “It just slowed me down a little bit.”

Asked to weigh in on the “controversy” of pork roll vs Taylor ham, Esper admitted he had never done a side-by-side comparison to taste them.

“It’s the same thing right?” he asked. “They don’t have this where I come from, so I went to a diner and they had no idea what pork roll was in Massachusetts.”

No. 1 ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut was scheduled to attend but it was announced that he decided to stay home while recovering from a broken bone in his leg. Chestnut won the pork roll title last year with 45 sandwiches.

The competitors came from as far as the Czech Republic and New Jersey’s representatives didn’t come close to keeping the crown in the Garden State.

Dr. Rene Rovtar, the Interim director of curriculum and instruction for the Secaucus Public School District was only able to down seven sandwiches. Jeff Bonacorda, finance director for the Trenton Thunder, entering the contest for the first time, finished eight and a half sandwiches.

Since the host is allowed one entrant, Bonacorda stepped up to the plates and took his shot. When Thunder GM Jeff Hurley told him he finished in 10th place, Bonacorda exclaimed, “I told you I wasn’t going to be last! Excellent!”

Bonacorda had his whole family waiting for him in a luxury suite to celebrate his birthday following the competition. His birthday is in December, but he said “Since my whole family is here, I’m throwing it today.

“I got food. I got beer. I got the family. It’s all good.”


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published this page in News and Politics 2022-09-25 03:41:54 -0700