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Oxford man sets record by eating 36 pepperoni rolls

Professional eater Geoffrey Esper.
Professional eater Geoffrey Esper. Chris Christo/Telegram.com

When it comes to food, Geoffrey Esper can eat. In fact, he's something of a champion.

The Oxford, Mass., resident recently set a new world record with the Major League Eating organization after he consumed the most pepperoni rolls during an eating competition in Fairmont, W.Va.

According to Esper and the league, which hosted the contest at the Three Rivers Festival Saturday, Esper put back 36 — 36! — pepperoni rolls in just 10 minutes.

Esper said in a message to the Globe that the rolls aren’t your typical Totino’s-sized snacks that you pop into the microwave.

“The rolls were about 3.5 oz each,” he said, and looked more like large subs you’d buy at the delicatessen.

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When asked what his method was for inhaling a record-setting amount of the food items, Esper said he dipped each roll in fruit punch before shoving them down, so he could get as many down as possible.

“We get to dunk them in the liquid of our choice. So it’s like eating pepperoni-flavored soggy bread for 10 minutes,” he said. “In the end, I ate just under 8 pounds of bread not including liquids.”

As for the taste?

“They were good,” Esper said.

Geoff Esper said he dipped each roll in fruit punch before shoving them down, so he could get as many down as possible.
Geoff Esper said he dipped each roll in fruit punch before shoving them down, so he could get as many down as possible.Photo courtesy of Geoff Esper

Competitive eating can be a dangerous sport for those without experience. Two people choked to death — one in Connecticut and one in Colorado — during contests last month.

Major League Eating oversees professional eating competitions worldwide. Each year, they host around 80 sanctioned contests, including the renowned Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, according to the organization’s website.

The league commended Esper for his somewhat-grotesque achievement.

“Those who were there to witness it will not forget it quickly,” it said in a statement announcing Esper’s heroic battle with the pepperoni rolls. “It was a performance for the ages, as Esper displayed complete and supreme mastery of the food in question.”

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Esper, who considers himself a part-time competitive eater — he likes to do one to two competitions per month — beat the previous record-holder, Matthew Stonie, by just two pepperoni rolls. Stonie set the league’s record in 2015.

The full-time teacher said his next contest will be this year’s Nathan’s hot dog contest qualifier in Boston on June 18. The top male and female finishers at the qualifier will compete at the ESPN-televised finals at the original Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island on July 4, according to event details.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.