Competitive Eating Stage Persona
Arnie "Chowhound" Chapman (Competitive Eater) gives expert video advice on: What is your competitive eating stage persona?; How did you come up with your competitive eating persona?; What is your competitive eating persona best known for? and more...
What is your competitive eating stage persona?
The chowhound and I think I'm loyal, loyal to other eaters. I have a reputation for supporting eater's rights so to speak so I'm loyal like a dog. If you see my eating style it sort of resembles a rabid dog I would admit but you know the ears and the hat it's worked really well for me. I'm an intense competitor so that's kind of part of the persona as well but I also think I'm a pretty nice guy and you know even when I compete you know even if we talk a little smack with another eater it's always done with a wink and a nod. So I enjoy the fellowship of eating a lot and the friendships I've made and I value those. Although I could be an intense competitor at times I always, always love to give my competition and anybody who has the courage to step up to the table I love to give them credit for doing that because I know what that's all about.
How did you come up with your competitive eating persona?
I came up with my competitive eating persona, a nickname that I had earned while I was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado in 1981. They had a midnight mess hall that was on the other end of the fort. And so I was known, that 11:00 o'clock at night I would make journeys, like a two or three mile walk to the other side of the fort. And so I remember one particular morning the guys, we were in formation, and one of the guys said, "Chapman, man, did I see you there at the midnight mess hall? Do you go there every night?" and I was like, "Yeah, I guess I do." So they were like, "Damn, Chapman, you're a chowhound." And I thought that was pretty funny and I kind of ran with that nickname while I was still stationed at Fort Carson. And then when I got into competitive eating, I said, "Hey, let me resurrect this." It goes with Chapman -- Chowhound Chapman -- perfect nickname.
What is your competitive eating persona best known for?
If you ask a lot of eaters there would be some out there who think I am a little unbalanced, I love unbalanced people so I hope I am unbalanced. In terms of what other people think of my persona I think for the most part they think it's creative, they think it's unique. It's something I took out of my own experience, not just something that was sort of given to me. With the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, we really like to encourage people and I do this with myself obviously to have a moniker and a shtick and stuff like that. I think other eaters see that it's more than just guys sitting around a table; it's also what you bring in terms of your persona. That's an important part of it. People will walk away from a competitive eating contest remembering that part of it as much as they'll remember how much somebody ate.
How is your competitive eating persona viewed by fans?
I think they love me. There's even a few strange people who have asked me for my autograph. Oh gosh! Why would they do that? I think they love me. They know I give it 100% and I do that not only when I compete but I also do that when I MC events. Because I do more of the MCing now. I'm sort of retired from competitive eating. But they see me as an enthusiastic person. It's important to me that if you give me 20-30 minutes of your time that I entertain you. That you go to work on Monday and say, "Man, I saw this guy and whether he was an idiot or whatever, but he was the funniest thing I ever saw. He was a 46 year-old-guy with dog ears up there and sweating and shaking."So if you give me 30 minutes of your precious time whether I'm eating at the table or running an event, I want you walking away from that experience going yeah, man, that was pretty cool.