PRESTONSBURG – Billy Ray’s Restaurant, located at 101 North Front Street in Prestonsburg, is home of the Big Billy Burger Challenge. Big Billy is a three-pound perfectly grilled double decker hamburger topped with loads of veggies on a one pound bun, served with a pound of fries. This monster meal is available to anyone willing to accept the challenge. The cost is $35 for anyone attempting to conquer the Big Billy who proves to be unsuccessfully. Others have tried, however only one man can proudly claim the victory. Randy Santel, from St. Peters, Missouri, faced the challenge on Friday and pinned the Big Billy to the mat in only 19 minutes and 51 seconds.
Santel, who was born in St. Louis, now lives in St. Peters, Missouri, where he owns and operates Atlas and Zeus Promotions. He is also the owner and founder of FoodChallenges.com. Santel is a world-class professional eater/bodybuilder. He has won over 366 food challenges in 36 different states and nine countries around the world, and those numbers are continually growing. Santel is also the number one and only person that specifically specializes in teaching people how to train, strategize, and dominate all restaurant food eating challenges.
“The staff at Billy Ray’s was great and I have eaten many burgers, and this is maybe the best tasting burger I have ever eaten,” Santel said. “The bread crumbs mixed into the ground beef made for an interesting texture and flavor. I enjoyed my time in Floyd County and I am happy to be the first person to ever win the Big Billy Challenge.”
While specializing in teaching people how to eat big, Santel also focuses hard on the nutrition side of health, fitness and personal wellness. Santel is a huge supporter and advocate for the importance of nutrition, which is why he is able to stay lean while still averaging over 135 food challenge wins per year. He was the winner of the 2010 Men’s Health/Spartacus Body Transformation Challenge, and has also been featured on the television series Truck Stop USA.
Competitive eating is a real sport, with some real salaries. Joey Chestnut, currently ranked number two by Major League Eating reportedly has raked in $218,500 for his incredible appetite and expanding stomach. Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie dethroned Chestnut as the number one ranked eating champion by eating 62 hot dogs at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in 10 minutes. ESPN broadcasts the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest every Fourth of July. Chestnut was on an eight-year winning streak, before falling to number two. Women can also be competitive eaters. Miki Sudo, from Las Vegas, Nevada is 29 years old and weighs a light 120 pounds. Sudo is currently ranked number three by MLE.
What seperates Santel from other professional eaters is the fact he focuses more on beating resturant challenges and he is known as an independent in the world of eating competitions. In order to be a ranked competitor, participants must only participate in sanctioned MLE sponsored events. Santel enjoys traveling and doing various competitions as he chooses.
To win the Billy Ray’s Big Billy Challenge, Santel had to eat the entire four pound burger plus a pound a fries in under one hour. The prize for accomplishing what no other person has been able to accomplish was the meal being free, a T-shirt and the winner’s picture on the wall of fame.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at 606/886-8506.