The Youngest Winner In Competitive Eating History

If you've never watched an eating competition, you might imagine that it would be dominated by grown-up competitors the size of Andre the Giant (who did, in fact, have a pretty prodigious appetite). Oddly enough, however, many of the top names in the sport are anything but Brobdingnagian. Takeru Kobayashi is probably not what most people would call a giant, while Sonya Thomas downright isn't one. And there's nothing Andre-sized about Joey Chestnut, either. At one blueberry muffin-eating contest held nearly 50 years ago, though, the top prize was taken home by someone who was still just a kid.

As the New York Times reported at the time, the contest took place in July 1974 at a New Jersey mall during a food festival sponsored by the North American Blueberry Council. The winner was 13-year-old Hackensack native John Radossich, who was able to gobble three muffins in just two minutes while being required to hold one hand behind his back. His prize? A transistor radio (these were a thing back in the '70s). He also got the opportunity to compete in yet another muffin-eating competition where a trophy and 1,000 muffins were at stake. Radossich apparently did not win the second round, though, or else the Times failed to report his feat if he did.

Other children have competed in eating contests

As far as we've been able to tell, Radossich may be the youngest person to win an eating competition that was covered by a major media outlet. He's not the only kid to compete, though, as the other participants in the muffin contest were described by the Times as "small boys." In 1940, a date-eating contest at the World's Fair was won by a 15-year-old, but both the second and third-place finishers were 12 years old while the prize for fourth place was taken home by an 11-year-old girl.

These days, professional eating competitions are big business, but they're strictly adults-only. As per Major League Eating, you cannot compete in one of their events unless you are at least 18 and legally able to consent to putting yourself at risk of any resulting health complications. Kid's competitions do still exist here and there at the amateur level, but these are meant to be low-stakes, just-for-fun affairs, as well they should be.