They came, they swallowed but as always they failed to conquer.
Today saw the World Oyster Eating Championship as part of the 23rd Hillsborough International Oyster Festival. This year’s event included a special challenge from a diminutive professional eater, Michelle Lesco, who flew all the way from Arizona to take on Oyster King Colin Shirlow and together guzzle hundreds of oysters.
However as always, local champ Colin Shirlow ran away with the contest. Taking part in his 11th year, the Dromore man managed to put away a ‘shucking’ 235 oysters in just three minutes – breaking his own World Record of eating 233 oysters in 3 minutes, which he set in 2005.
Colin was jubilant when he collected his crown saying, “It’s astonishing that I’ve won the championship yet again and I am delighted to have beaten my record!
He went on, “Even if I didn’t win I would still take part in the contest. The Hillsborough Oyster Festival is a fantastic event. It’s so much fun and shows some of the best hospitality that Hillsborough has to offer.”
It’s hardly surprising the former boxer managed to beat the other contenders to the title – he’s done exactly the same thing every single one of the 11 years he’s taken part in the competition and this win was on the 10th anniversary of his World Record, which until now he had only managed to equal in 2013.
As ever Colin puts his unusual technique down to the training he received during his boxing days. “It’s about speed and rhythm,” he explained.
“You can’t get either until you focus but once you find the right rhythm then you just keep going.”
Others in the world of professional eating agree and many study Colin’s techniques from YouTube videos of the champ including the defeated Michelle Lesco.
“Of course I wanted to win,” admitted the 31 year-old teacher from Tucson. “But this game is also about the taking part. Watching Colin go is like watching a machine!,” she said.
The Hillsborough Oyster Festival concludes this Sunday, September 6th with the Supercar Sunday Event where supercar fanatics can take their dream ride for a spin or even go on an excursion.