About 150 students and community members gathered to watch five men with one purpose: to eat the most sandwiches in five minutes for $500.Three students, one campus minister and a Fort Worth resident ate turkey, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, competing against each other at the 2005 Potbelly’s Bellybusting Sandwich Eating Contest Thursday night.
A junior football player and communications major, Chase Ortiz, was presented an oversized check, eating 2.9 sandwiches.
“I didn’t have a method,” Ortiz said. “I just ate the damn thing.”
Lee Pendergrass, 42, of Fort Worth, came in second, Dustin Salter, a Reformed University Fellowship campus minister, came in third, and Eric Tabone, a sophomore finance and accounting major finished fourth. James Hodges, a senior communications and English major, came in last.
Peter Nolan, director of marketing for Potbelly Sandwich Works, said the contest was held on National Sandwich Day.
“It’s just a fun way to celebrate,” Nolan said.
He said the contest, complete with coaches and referees, was also to reward the community for its support since the restaurant’s opening in April 2005.
“The whole campus and community has been so welcoming,” Nolan said. “It’s a fun way to give back.”
Along with the contest, Potbelly sold $1 sandwiches from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., attracting many students.
Yendor Reese, a senior speech communications major, said he came to watch Tabone in the contest and to get a sandwich for a dollar.
“I think it was a great way to bring all the TCU students from different backgrounds together,” Reese said.
He said the two events were smart marketing tactics because a typical Thursday night would not attract as many customers.
Nolan said this year’s contest most likely will not be the last.
“It’s a new tradition to do on college campuses and one we hope to continue,” he said.
Nine college campuses participated in contests nationwide, Nolan said.
An Ohio State University student set the national record Thursday, eating 3.75 sandwiches.