Major League Eating, its Founder and Two Competitive Eaters Headed to the Buffalo Wing 'Hall of Flame'

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George Shea, Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas, and Eric 'Badlands' Booker will be inducted into the Buffalo Wing 'Hall of Flame' on August 31, the eve of the National Buffalo Wing Festival

Major League Eating (MLE) is headed into the Buffalo Wing Hall of Flame in a “BIG” way for 2012, with the induction of its founder and two of the world’s top competitive eaters.

George Shea founded Major League Eating with his brother Richard and is a “Master Showman” who entertains attendees at the National Buffalo Wing Festival and other top competitive eating events throughout the United States. His organization and promotion of these contests, including the United States Chicken Wing Eating Championships in Buffalo, N.Y., have contributed significantly to the world’s awareness of this annual event, as well as the popularity of chicken wings throughout the world.

Sonya Thomas, who holds the current World Record in chicken wing eating, has repeatedly astonished attendees at the National Buffalo Wing Festival and the world with her repeated defeats of male competitors who dwarf her diminutive 105-pound body. In doing so, the “Black Widow,” as she’s known, has raised awareness of the festival and chicken wings in general by receiving extensive national and international media publicity. Sonya, a resident of Alexandria, VA, holds a total of 39 world records in competitive eating.

Eric “Badlands” Booker has been among the top Major League Eating competitive eaters for several years and is always a favorite at the National Buffalo Wing Festival, where he is a past winner of the U.S. Chicken Wing Eating Championships, as well as a popular musical performer with his unique hip hop performances. Known as “The People’s Champ,” “Badlands” is a resident of Long Island, where he works as a conductor on the rapid transit system and, when he’s not eating, enjoys martial arts.

“Hall of Flame” chairman Stan Friedman says this year’s inductees are obvious and well-deserved selections. He noted, “I am particularly proud of this year’s inductees. Each of our inductees has contributed so much to the positive energy of this festival and everything that it stands for. They each richly deserve these honors.”

Previous inductees include Frank and Teresa Bellissimo in 2006, Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery from Buffalo Wild Wings in 2007, Frank’s RedHot in 2008, Buffalo News columnist Donn Esmonde and Wing Zone founders Matt Friedman and Adam Scott in 2009, and Wingstop Restaurants founder Antonio Swad and members of the Buffalo Bisons operations staff in 2010.

Last year’s inductees included Drew Cerza, the founder of the National Buffalo Wing Festival, and actor/comedian Bill Murray, whose 2001 movie "Osmosis Jones" provided the inspiration for the event.

This year’s induction ceremony will be held on Friday, August 31, 2012 and is a prelude to the 2012 National Buffalo Wing Festival, which will be held on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, at Buffalo’s Coca-Cola Field.

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