A local security officer from Wigan has won the title at the World Pie Eating Championship.
HARRY'S BAR, WIGAN, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 18, 2013) (HOT UNDER THE COLLAR) - It has been a spectacular 12 months of sport for the English town of Wigan- their football team won the FA Cup and the town's rugby league side won the Challenge Cup in June. To round off the year, the Lancashire town gained yet more silverware in the annual World Pie Eating Championships held on Wednesday (December 18).
There have even been cases of contestants attempting to gain an unfair advantage by using cough syrup to make it easier to get the pie down - an approach that is now strictly banned.
Yet as "Pie Master" and organiser Tony Callaghan explains, it is a fun event that taps into the history of the city.
"It's open to anybody, but I mean we'd like to keep the trophy in Wigan because, of course, we won two, we won the rugby cup this year and we've won the FA Cup. So I think it's only right that we win, a 'Wiganer' wins it. We do let foreigners from Bolton, St Helens, and places like that come along, You know if they come from Yorkshire, as long as they've got a passport, I don't mind them entering. But those other people don't learn to eat pies; it's really a Wigan competition to be truthful."
A brief, but intense event that kicked off a "pie-noon", this year's competition saw 38 year-old local security officer Ian Coulton finish his pie in the slowest ever winning time of 1 minute and 6 seconds.
"I opened my gullet, there might have been a little bit that dropped on the floor but I didn't plan that. I just pushed it in as fast as I could and chewed it as fast as I could. It wasn't easy," he said.
That is a long way off from the world record of 23.53 seconds, which was set by last year's winner Martin Clare.
And after the packed pub had watched the competition, there was enough time for the rest of the spectators to enjoy their own traditional Wigan lunch - a hot pie.