The Rapidian

Crack fry contestants devour 90 pounds of fries in two minutes

Downtown bar HopCat celebrated six years in business with a french fry eating contest and $500 prize going to Kyle Hanner in record time.

Find HopCat at:

25 Ionia Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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/Philip Zoutendam

HopCat downtown celebrated its sixth anniversary on Saturday with the annual Crack Fry eating contest and limited release 22 ounce bottles of 2014 Oil Rigger Russian Imperial Stout. St. Louis native Kyle Hanner won the competition and $500 cash prize.

“The warmth and love that HopCat gets from the community, Grand Rapids, Michigan and beyond blows us away every day,” said Garry Boyd, ringleader at HopCat and partner in Barfly Ventures. Addressing the crowd briefly before the contest, he praised the craft brewing community for aiding in the bar’s success.

“We started this thing six years ago and we had our fingers crossed that Grand Rapids would embrace what we were trying to do,” said Boyd. “People told us six wasn’t a big deal. For us, six is a huge deal.”

Nearly 30 contestants were given six minutes to eat as many fries as they could- and were started off with a one pound basket of fries each.

Beginning promptly at 3 p.m., contestants powered through 90 pounds of crack fries in about two minutes. The competition was halted with a shortage of fries. More crack fries had been consumed in that short time frame than had been eaten in the entire competition the year before.

After a 15-minute intermission, the top five competitors from the first round were named: Matthew Holowicki, Jonathan Edwards, Tim Brown, Kyle Hanner, and winner of the previous year’s competition, Jacob Larry. Three of these competitors had beaten Hop Cat’s standing record in the first, abbreviated round of competition. Boyd and the contestants quickly negotiated a two-minute sudden death round of eating.

With four minutes of competition completed, Hanner was named champion, having consumed one pound and nine ounces of crack fries in the sudden death round. He was closely followed by Brown with one pound five ounces and Larry with one pound one ounce.

“My technique apparently pretty much dominated the field,” says Hanner. Rather than eating fries individually, Hanner fit as many crack fries into his mouth at one time as possible. Hop Cat’s Crack Fry competition is his fifth title in eating competitions.

Each of the top five eaters was gifted with a bottle of Oil Rigger Russian Imperial Stout and a congratulatory drink with Boyd.

All photos courtesy of Philip Zoutendam.

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