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12 pounds, 29 minutes, 2 victories


Competitive eating — Duo takes on Chuckwagon Challenge, owner describes victory as disgusting

It may have been disgusting to watch, but Richard Bert said it was truly impressive.

Bert, owner of Bert’s Chuckwagon in Dundee, created the Chuckwagon Challenge and on Jan. 25, a Portland duo beat it.

The challenge is for two people and includes four sirloin patties topped with a pound of pulled pork, eight slices of bacon, eight slices of cheese, four fried eggs, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. Served on the side — five pounds of French fries, one pound of cole slaw and one pound of baked beans. Challengers have one hour to complete the task.by: GARY ALLEN - Big eats - Richard Bert, owner of Bert's Chuckwagon, started the ‘Chuckwagon Challenge' a few years ago. Consisting of more than 12 pounds of foods, it went unbeaten until a Portland duo took on the challenge Jan. 25

Bert said the duo, from Big Eaters Club of Portland, ate the 12 pounds in 29 minutes and three seconds.

“They could’ve done it in 15 minutes,” he said. “Normally it can be fun to watch, but it was horrible, it was disgusting looking, they were just piling it on.”

Disgusting because as professional eaters, there’s a method to eating 12 pounds of food, with time to spare. Bert said they deconstructed the platters, eating efficiently and while remarkable, it will be the last professional eaters he lets take the challenge.

“It was designed for regular people,” he said. “Three years ago it started out as a one-person challenge at nine pounds of food and I thought well we’ve had several people try and they didn’t even get half way through, so I’ll bump it up make it 12 pounds of food for two people.”

Since the business moved to Dundee almost two years ago, four attempts have been made at the Chuckwagon Challenge.

“We had a set of twin brothers try and they threw in the towel at 59 minutes, they had a pound of fries and a pound of slaw and beans left,” Bert said. “They couldn’t do it and they’re pretty big eaters too.”

He said when people come by the food cart, almost everyone talks about the challenge, which goes back to Bert’s reasoning to starting the business in the first place.

“My philosophy is that food brings people together, it gets people talking,” he said. “Probably the best part of my job is the fact that I have strangers come sit down at the picnic tables together, start talking and the next thing you know they’re friends. I like the camaraderie of it.”

Not even on the slowest day, of which there are more of in the winter, has someone not come in for the first time after driving past the cart, located at 875 Highway 99W.

“It makes me feel real good that people are still coming in, and that we still have our regulars too,” he said. “It’s so much fun and such a joy to be able to do something you truly love to do.”

Although someone taking on the challenge again might be a while out, Bert has plans for improving the truck, including opening an indoor space in the next month.

“It’s not going to be anything fancy, but if I can get a place for people to sit down and eat, that’d be very nice,” he said.

To learn more about Bert’s Chuckwagon, visit www. bertschuckwagon.com.