The Incredible Truth Of Competitive Moon Pie Eater Mort Hurst

When it comes to competitive eaters, Mort Hurst is a glutton for risk-taking. His claim to fame may be housing 16 1/2 Moon Pies in just 10 minutes (via News & Record), but he has taken down plenty of meals that have put him on the map. While people have been using eating skills to boast their power since the Middle Ages according to Time, eating found its place in the U.S. sports world back in 1916 at the acclaimed Nathan's Famous in Coney Island. In 1984, Hurst made his name known within the professional eating scene in his hometown of Ayden, North Carolina. The News & Observer tells us that Hurst took down 7 1/2 pounds of collard greens in record time. The trophy that day sparked an endless hunger in Hurst and he went on to eat ungodly amounts of food, always with a crowd.

When witnessing professional eaters shovel food into their mouths, it often doesn't appear that breathing is even a top priority. As for Mort, pistachio shells couldn't even slow him down. He's had a tooth chipped on the pesky shell, ate a hot dog underwater with concrete blocks holding him down, tore the lining of his throat with watermelon seeds, and inadvertently stabbed himself with a fork in a heated moment of competition. In his heyday, there really wasn't much Hurst would say no to when it came it eating, and little that stopped him from finishing (and winning).

Fans keep competitive eaters like Hurst going

With speed-eating can come some hurdles, such as the obvious culprits: choking and nausea. In addition to immediate stomach pains, there are long-term side effects. A Journal of Roentgenology study in 2007 compared a competitive eater with a non-competitive eater. The study revealed that competitive eaters are able to defeat the satiety reflex, in other words, what makes you feel full. Overcoming that reflex can overstretch your stomach forever and lead to a slew of health concerns down the road.

It's no surprise that competitive eating can be dangerous, which explains why all Major League Eating (MLE) events must have emergency medical technicians within reach, MLE confirms. This may have been prompted by Hurt's dramatic moment in 1991 when he suffered a stroke after speed-eating 38 soft-boiled eggs in just 29 seconds (via Slate). Hurst recovered yet carried on competing for another four years.

Onlookers were in awe of Hurst's skills. Following a fundraiser for his campaign, Rufus Edmisten told The News & Observer, "Mort is unique from head to toe. Between the head and toe, he must be hollow." Hurst's stamina carried him through his competitive eating career until his systolic blood-pressure caught up with him and he begrudgingly retired.