Hwy 55 Announces Star-Studded Lineup to Compete in 55 Challenge

After seven years of thrills, spills, and people getting more than their fill, the 55 Challenge is set to once again dominate the stage at the Mount Olive Pickle Festival.

Five eaters will brave 55 ounces of Hwy 55 burger (plus fries!) in what has become one of the Southeast’s most buzzed-about eating contests.

This year, two professionals will take the stage in a modern-day Battle of the Sexes: Three-time champion “Gentleman” Joe Menchetti will chow down against the No. 1 female independent competitive eater in the world, Molly Schuyler. Menchetti won the inaugural 55 Challenge in 2008 and went on to defend his title two more times. The 120-pound Schuyler made national headlines over the weekend when she ate three 72-ounce steaks in 20 minutes at the Big Texan Steak Eating Contest.

Competing alongside the pros are three champs from the local University of Mount Olive: men’s volleyball player Alex Palmatier, Hope Perry of the women’s soccer team, and Professor of Biology Dr. Dave Dommer.

The five will compete against each other and against the clock: all hope to beat the record time set at last year’s Pickle Festival by “Furious” Pete Czerwinski of three minutes and 27 seconds.

The event will begin at high noon on Saturday, April 25 at the corner of Main and Corner Streets in downtown Mt. Olive. Taylor Vaden will perform a “Tribute to Elvis” beforehand.