Up to the Challenge

Local food challenges hard offer bragging rights

Marie Krolikowski
Brandon Clark has competed in 365 eating contests across the U.S., including some at Lake of the Ozarks.

We’ve all seen them on television. Anxious eaters lined up, competing to devour the mound of food in front of them before their competitors. But food eating challenges go beyond consuming an outrageous amount of water dipped hot dogs. Just ask Brandon Clark, aka Da Garbage Disposal.

Brandon was working as a construction worker when his fellow workers first noticed how incredibly fast he consumed food. Encouraged to enter a contest, he and a friend decided to team challenge an 11-pound pizza. They finished it in an astounding 22 minutes. This was in 2017, and Brandon set a goal to do five challenges. To date, he’s entered close to 365 eating contests.

Two years after entering his first event, Brandon decided to make this his full-time career. He has traveled the world in search of the right challenge, and has a website and posts seven to 10 videos a week on YouTube. He currently has 61,600 followers.

“I edit all my own videos,” Brandon said. “I really appreciate people who take the time to watch. I personally answer every comment that’s made.”

Among the 365 challenges Brandon has entered, he’s only lost twice. He eventually went back and beat them, making him undefeated in the food challenge world. Brandon lives in Hernando, Miss. but is a frequent contender in the Lake area. He completed a four day challenge this past June.

Among the 365 challenges Brandon has entered, he’s only lost twice.
Brandon has traveled the world in search of the right challenge.

Day one was the 666 Challenge at Nautifish in Camdenton. Known as the hot wing challenge, Brandon had no problem consuming six hot wings, in six minutes, with a six minute afterburn (you can’t eat or drink after it).

The challenge on day two was the Gut Buster at Wacky Knacky in Osage Beach. In just two minutes and two seconds, Brandon cleared the plate that held a 10-egg omelet, hash brown potatoes, sausage, bacon and gravy. The entire meal boasted a whopping 3.5 pounds of food.

The Breakfast Club Bar & Grill at Miller's Landing has a Breakfast Challenge.

Continuing his quest, Brandon visited Millers Landing in Osage Beach for another filling challenge. Breakfast consisted of two, 22-inch pancakes, four eggs, four pieces of toast and sausage. Contestants are given 30 minutes to complete the meal. Brandon easily consumed it all in 15 minutes.

Although a pancake challenge two days in a row isn’t ideal, Brandon couldn’t resist the challenge. On day four, he found himself at The Pancake House in Osage Beach. In just 26 minutes, the plate of eight 10-inch pancakes was gone.

Other contests Brandon has entered include the Big Mammas and Pappas Pizza in Los Angeles, Calif. Eight people are challenged to finish a 50-pound pizza in the time allowed. Brandon entered the contest with a team of only four members and finished in half the time. That event awarded a $4,000 prize.

The most challenging event took place early in his career at a restaurant called Mamma’s On The Hill in St. Louis, Missouri. Faced with eight pounds of spaghetti and a meatball twice the size of a softball, Brandon actually lost this event. He went back a second time, however, and finished with ease.

“My bucket list item was The Big Texan in Amarillo Texas,” Brandon explained. “This is the ultimate number one challenge for most people. It consists of a 72-ounce steak, six shrimp, a baked potato, salad and a roll. The second time I finished it in 12 minutes.”

Brandon said he’s put on about 30 pounds since he began the challenges, but otherwise is in good health. He’s going to continue entering contests, but will be focusing more on time challenges. Proud of his cakes and other creations, Brandon is going to start marketing and selling his baked goods.

Climax Springs resident Darin McNeely had no intention of entering an eating contest when he attended the Pumkin Chunkin’ Palooza event at the Lake.

“They were looking for contestants for the pumpkin pie contest, and my son got me to enter,” Darin explained.

Darin won the event both years he entered. The first year, he stopped eating after two pies. The second year was a timed event, and he consumed a little over two pies.

“The first year I randomly got selected,” Darin said. “The second year I came back to claim my crown once again.”

Entering food contests is not something Darin typically does, and how to go about this challenge was unknown. The second year, Darin had a plan of attack.

“The first time I just went at it,” he explained. “The second year I knew it was the chewing that slowed me down. I focused on choking down the crust first, and then finished the rest of the pie.”

“The feeling afterward was horrible,” he remembered. “I felt like I had a bowling ball sitting in my stomach. But I do still like pumpkin pie.”

Brett Hubbard, the owner of The Pancake House in Osage Beach, has been offered The Pancake Challenge for 12 years. It costs approximately $20 to enter the event, depending on which type of pancakes the contestant chooses. There are eight 10-inch pancakes with as much butter and syrup as you’d like. Flavors available include chocolate chip, banana foster, blueberry, strawberry and more. There is no time limit and winners walk away with a free T- shirt.

“It’s pretty simple but challenging at the same time,” Brett explained. “It’s normally tourists who do it, and we’ve only had two contestants complete it. The pancakes are brought out one stack at a time, and most people don’t make it through the first stack.”

Brett said it’s typically the younger to middle aged crowd who attempts the challenge, and almost always men. The challenge is offered from 6 a.m.-2 p.m., six days a week.

Whether it’s burgers, pancakes, or wings you desire there’s a challenge at the Lake waiting for you.

The Pancake House in Osage Beach offers a Pancake Challenge.

Where to go

Larry’s On the Lake

Larry’s BIG Larry Burger Challenge: Five, half-pound Big Larry Burgers stacked with cheese and other toppings. Served with French fries and/or onion rings. A total of five pounds of food.

$30 to enter contest. 30 minute time limit. Free meal if you complete the challenge. $400 if you break the previous time record.

Wacky Knaky Diner

Gut Buster Challenge: 10 egg omelet, sausage links or patties, bacon, toast and has browns.  

$18.95, done on the honor system and no time limit.

Nautifish Rum Bar

666 Challenge: Six hot wings with a six minute afterburn must be completed within six minutes.

Miller’s Landing/Breakfast Club Bar & Grill

Breakfast Challenge: Two, 22 -inch pancakes, four eggs, four pieces of toast and sausage and bacon.

$30 to enter but if you finish it in 30 minutes, it’s free. Gift card and T-shirt given to winners.

The Pancake House

Pancake Challenge: Finish eight, 10-inch pancakes. No time limit. Winners receive a T-shirt. If you finish the challenge, the meal is free.