Watercooler Stories

Sept. 6, 2010 at 6:30 AM
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'Black Widow' tops wing-eating field

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Sonya Thomas, a voracious eater known as "The Black Widow," ate a record 181 chicken wings in 12 minutes Sunday in Buffalo, N.Y., organizers ruled.

Her performance at the 2010 National Buffalo Wing Festival wasn't a fluke -- it's the fourth time she's won the competition.

Thomas bested a field of seasoned extreme eaters, including top challenger Joey Chestnut.

"This is probably the biggest eating contest in the world other than the Nathan's hot dog eating contest," festival organizer Drew Cerza told Buffalo's WKBW-TV. "The No. 1 eater in the world, Joey Chestnut, went up against Sonya Thomas -- a mismatch in size but not a mismatch in competitive eating talent and heart, and Sonya Thomas beat Joey Chestnut. She set a world record with 181 chicken wings."

The festival attracted people from all 50 states and 6 countries, Cerza said.

Volvo owner about to hit 3 million miles

NEW YORK, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- The Volvo automobile is known for its safety, but it could become known for endurance: A 1966 model is closing in on 3 million miles, the New York owner says.

Retired Long Island schoolteacher Irv Gordon hopes to get another 200,000 miles out of the car he purchased for nearly a year's salary, he told The Detroit News.

Now 70, Gordon said he hopes to hit 3 million miles by the time he's 73.

"Got just over 2.8 million miles," he told the newspaper. "We've slowed down a little -- rather than over 100,000 miles a year, we're averaging about 80,000."

The cherry-red Volvo P1800 has few conveniences people expect today, but it does have 460 air-conditioning, he said: "460 air conditioning -- four windows down, 60 miles an hour."

There's no secret to making a car last, Gordon said. "Read the owner's manual, and do what it says. It's written by people who know what they are talking about."

He purchased the car new for $4,150, but never planned on driving it so long, the newspaper said.

"I never set out to drive millions of miles," he said, "but I loved the car -- I still do -- and I love driving it. Why would I want to get rid of it?"

Cheerleading record try misses mark

DALLAS, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- An attempt in Texas to set a Guinness world record for the largest group of dancing cheerleaders came up short, event organizers said.

Those putting on the Saturday event, including a television network launching a series about cheerleaders, hoped to break the existing record of 297 set at a cheerleading competition in Tennessee last year, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Organizers contacted thousands of middle schools, high schools and cheerleading clubs and posted a YouTube video so participants could practice beforehand, the newspaper said.

But when the time came to dance their way into the records books, only about 100 cheer enthusiasts had gathered at Frisco Memorial Stadium north of Dallas.

Setting records is not always easy, official Guinness judge Mike Janela said, but it's also not always the point.

"Even when they do fall short, they wouldn't be here for that long if they weren't having fun," he said. "And sometimes that's just as important."

The cheerleaders didn't seem disappointed at missing the records.

"Don't we get a T-shirt?" asked Paige Needles, a sophomore at Episcopal School of Dallas who belongs to a local club called Cheer Athletics. "I mean, for a free T-shirt, it's worth it."

U.K. sees spectacular spud

LONDON, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- If confirmed by Guinness World Records, a Northampton, England, gardener will have grown a record-setting potato weighing more than 8 pounds.

Peter Glazebrook entered his 8 pound 4 ounce spud into the giant vegetable competition Friday at the National Gardening Show in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the BBC reported.

The amateur gardener says he's waiting for verification from the Guinness people but he says he thinks his "tattie" is 7 ounces heavier than the previous record holder of 7 pounds 13 ounces, the BBC said Saturday.

"I've been trying to grow these large for about 10 years and this is the largest I've managed," Glazebrook said. "It needs a long growing season to get as large as possible."

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