Despite competitive eater Ian “The Invader” Hickman's great successes, he says he still feels he has some unfinished business when it comes to strawberries.So how, you may ask, are dreams born? Basic cable.
Having previously competed twice and finishing no better than third place at the annual National Strawberry Eating Championship in Delaplane, Hickman would love nothing more than to win this coveted title for his home state of Virginia and finally add strawberries to his long list of eating titles.
"This event is in Virginia, it's my house," Hickman, 25, declares."The sweetness of these delicious strawberries can only be fully realized when a Virginian brings the title home where it belongs.”
Last year's champion ate 9 pounds of strawberries in seven minutes.
Hickman, a Herndon resident who stands at 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs only 165 pounds, has established several world records and captured several national eating titles since he started competing in 2005 at the age of 22. His accomplishments include downing 10 pounds of chili in only five minutes, capturing the National ¼ lb. Hot Dog Eating Championship, and grabbing the World Black & White Cookie Eating Championship.
A billing consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, Hickman says he generally attends one or two contests a month and particularly likes to win those within driving distance from his Herndon home.
Hickman said he first became interested in becoming a competitive eater after watching actor John Candy eat a huge steak in the movie "The Great Outdoors," and later consumed his own 64-ounce porterhouse in a Lexington, Ky., steakhouse that offered the meal free to anyone who could finish it in less than 45 minutes. Hickman ate the steak – along with a side and a salad – in only 19 minutes.You, too, can dream big. Really big.
"That's when I knew I might have talent as a competitive eater," he said.