The second annual World Peeps Eating Championship goes down at National Harbor on Saturday at 1:30 pm, where 13 competitive eaters will cram as many Peeps as possible to win the title. The star of the Major League Eating event is Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, the reigning champion who clinched the world record for Peeps eating last year when he consumed 200 marshmallow treats in five minutes.
Peeps are just one of many foods Stonie has conquered. The California native, who once beat eight-time champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, currently holds 16 world records in everything from spaghetti (10 pounds, eight minutes) to tacos (103) to silver dollar pancakes (113). The Peeps Championship, part of National Harbor’s Peeps Day festivities, will be Stonie’s first match of the year.
We caught up with The Megatoad—a nickname he borrowed from his favorite Super Mario Bros. character—to talk training, eating, and what consuming 200 Peeps feels like. If you want a visual, check out this video first:
What made you want to take on the Peeps championship?
When you tell someone you ate 200 burgers in five minutes, they’re like ‘Yeah, that’s cool.’ But when you tell someone you ate 200 Easter Peeps in five minutes, that blows people’s minds. Everyone knows Peeps.
How did you train for the competition?
To be blunt, I ate Peeps. There’s a lot of foods I compete in, and every food is different. It’s like, if you can eat a sandwich you can eat a hamburger, and so on. Peeps are unique. It’s marshmallow, it’s really sugary. Depending on the batch some of them are more dense and stiff, and some of them are really soft and fluffy. With a lot of sweet foods, you need to mentally get used to the flavor. So I get a bunch of Peeps, and eat them as fast as I can in five minutes. A marathon runner hits the track. A lifter picks up weights. And I eat food. I exercise, and the day of practices, I take it easy, get mentally focused, eat my Peeps, relax afterwards. I really think about how I did—if I was happy, if I wasn’t. It’s a lot of mental and physical preparation.
What did it feel like physically after eating 200 Peeps last year?
Surprisingly, it’s not that bad. It’s a five minute contest, and the Major League Eating guys did that intentionally. Traditionally contests are eight to ten minutes long—like Nathan’s Hot Dog contest is ten minutes long. Ten minutes of Peeps would be brutal, we’d be suffering. I didn’t feel a hundred percent. You’re full, you’re tired. But I’ve done this for so long that my body is used to it and knows what to expect after five minutes of just eating Peeps. That’s what comes with training.
What was the first thing you ate after the championship last year?
I don’t remember exactly, but if I had a choice it would be a pastrami sandwich—something nice and salty. But I think I had a protein bar on the plane on the way home, something boring.
What’s your favorite celebratory meal after winning a competition?
A lot of times when I come home it’s the Vietnamese noodle bowls, pho. Over in San Jose, [California], we have a million of those places, and I’ve been eating it my whole life. Something about a nice warm bowl of soup—especially after a Peeps contest—sounds pretty great.
How long does it usually take to get back to eating what you normally would?
Usually it takes two or three days to recover. Peeps is an easier contest because it’s all carbohydrates. As much as it gives you a sugar rush, it really goes through your system quickly. It’s really tough when you’re eating the high-protein, salty, meaty stuff that takes a long time to get out of your system.
What’s the hardest food to eat competitively?
I did a hard boiled egg eating contest three years back. It was eight minutes, and I remember being in the zone and then thinking ‘Aw man, I’m getting full, let me look at the clock.’ And only three minutes had passed. That was a bad one, hard boiled eggs.
Do you ever just eat Peeps for fun?
At National Harbor, they have this Peeps shop, so I bought some of their gourmet Peeps last year and brought them home for Easter. That’s part of the cool thing about this competition—it’s something I’ve known for my entire life.
When you practice, is any color or shape—maybe the bunny Peeps—fair game?
I stick with the traditional ones. It’s partly mental, preparing for what they’ll use in the contest. I buy whatever they have at the store, but I try to stick to yellow and pink.
Have you ever had a competition where you had a hard time finding or recreating the food?
Oh yeah. A lot of the foods are regional, so there’s a lot of nuances. Like there’s a pork patty with a certain spice, or there’s a burger made just this way with onions on top of it. There’s a contest I’m thinking of going to in May where the organizer couldn’t even describe the food—like it’s a doughnut but a pancake, and its the size of tennis ball. There’s a lot of tricky stuff, but Peeps are easy.
So what other candy do you eat on Easter?
It’s so cliche, but Cadbury cream eggs.