ELK HORN – Another world record was set on Saturday afternoon in Elk Horn.
Last year, the world was introduced to the Tivoli Fest World Aebleskiver Eating Contest in Elk Horn held during the Tivoli Fest celebration, and in 2018, professional and amateur eaters came back for the second annual competition.
Matt Stonie, who won last year’s competition, didn’t attend this year, so a new champion was a given-but who that would be, and how many aebleskivers he or she could eat-was still unknown.
Massachusetts resident Geoffrey Esper became the new champion, and not only that, was able to eat 107 aebleskivers in eight minutes, breaking Stonie’s record of 87 last year.
Esper has been eating competitively for two and half years, and started like many others do.
“I’d go to some of the restaurant food challenges, and did pretty good at those,” he said. “I did a couple of local contests, and did good at those. And then I decided to go out for the Nathan’s Hot Dog (contest). And I made that my first year. And went on from there.”
He said he tried baking some of his own aebleskivers before the contest to become more familiar with it.
“I made some at home,” he said. “I didn’t have the correct pan (so) I used a muffin tin. So I made basically pancake muffins, and then I baked them off in the oven. And they were pretty similar. They were bigger, but they were similar.”
He said he enjoyed the challenge, and really enjoyed the food.
“(The aebleskivers) were really good,” he said. “(They’re like pancakes and) I like pancakes.”
His next competition is qualifying for the Nathan’s Hot Dog contest, and then he will compete in another one in which he has to eat strawberry shortcake.
Esper was not the only winner. Local Elk Horn resident Logan Veath won the amateur competition, which was held prior to the professional one on Saturday. This is the second year Veath has competed in the contest.
“Last year, I placed third, and (I ate) 16 aebleskivers in five minutes,” he said. “This year, I (ate) 20 in four minutes and seven seconds.”
Prior to the last two years, Veath has not eaten competitively. Instead, he spends his days working as a dentist as part of the White Pine Dental Group. And while it’s unlikely that he’ll quit that for the world of competitive eating, he enjoys being in the competition.
“Actually, it’s really fun,” he said. “You get into it, and you just focus on what your supposed to be doing, and you start filling your face.”
He’s surprised he received first place, but he doesn’t hesitate when asked if he will be on that stage in the future.
“You betcha. I’d love to do it next year,” Veath said. “And we’ll keep doing this, so that we can have a lot of fun and have entertainment, and have people come out to Elk Horn and Tivoli Fest.”
Veath is originally from Nebraska, moving to Elk Horn three years ago, but he sounds like he’s been here his whole life.
“This is a great community, and I really want to make a difference, and I want the community to have a fun (event to attend) during Tivoli,” he said.
So, prepare yourself. It’s likely that third annual competition is just over a year away.