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Student funds his college education with competitive eating

Stuffing your face for money, we could do that.

Image: Eric Dahl/AP

A STUDENT AT the University of Wisconsin has a creative way of funding his education.

Computer engineering student Eric Dahl, nicknamed ‘Silo’, earns his money by eating competitively and he now ranks third in the world, as determined by All Pro Eating rankings.

Dahl was on top at one stage, and has earned more than $18,000 in prize money or merchandise, all going towards his education.

Dahl was drawn to competitive eating in 2011, at the former Big Red’s Steakhouse in Madison. He didn’t want to pay for his meal so he signed up for a challenge: eat a three-pound cheesesteak sandwich in less than 10 minutes and skip the bill. He finished in 5 minutes, 50 seconds, and “it just started rolling from there”.

Dahl’s first windfall came from Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in suburban Minneapolis, where he earned $250 for inhaling nine pulled-pork sandwiches in six minutes. The former high school athlete found the competition and its over-the-top atmosphere reminiscent of professional wrestling.

I really get pumped when the crowd starts cheering. I’m friends with other competitive eaters, but once I’m on stage I don’t have any friends.

The 6-foot-3 Dahl said he walks a few miles a day, lifts weights twice a week and plays soccer and hockey to maintain his 220-pound weight. The State Journal reports that he eats no more than 3,100 calories a day, mostly vegetables to avoid increasing his waistline, and stretches his stomach by eating 10 pounds of cabbage or broccoli in a single sitting followed by a lot of water.

Silo uploads videos of his eating adventures to his YouTube channel, where he’s quickly gaining a following.

His next bout is scheduled for Saturday, when he’ll try to win $1,000 at a national pizza-eating contest on Library Mall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Go Silo.

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Associated Press

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