KEY WEST - A Key West man ate an entire 9-inch Key lime pie topped with whipped cream, without using his hands, in 1 minute and 14 seconds, to win the island city's annual Key Lime Pie Eating Championship.
Competing for his fifth year, Chris Shultz defeated 24 other entrants in the Florida Keys' sweet alternative to New York City's traditional July 4 hotdog-eating contest.
The quirky pie-eating challenge, starring the island chain's signature dessert, highlighted the annual Key Lime Festival. Contestants were not allowed to use forks, spoons, or even their hands - resulting in very messy methods of consumption.
"I plunged face-first into my pie and wiggled my face around and ate as much as possible," Shultz said following his victory, his face still plastered with bits of pie.
Believed to have originated in Key West in the late 1800s, Key lime pie is made primarily of condensed milk, egg yolks, and the juice of tiny yellow Key limes. The creamy filling is typically nestled in a graham cracker crust and crowned with whipped cream or meringue.
The pie-eating contest is an Independence Day mainstay in the Florida Keys.
"In Key West, we celebrate the Fourth of July with Key lime pie. It's what we do -- what we're about," said Shultz.
The Key Lime Festival's other events included a gravity-defying Key Lime Pie Drop, a scavenger hunt, and tasting strolls featuring Key lime cocktails and pie.
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.
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