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CAUGHT IN HER WEB Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, ranked No. 1 in the United States by the International Federation of Competitive Eaters, will go mouth to mouth against some of the biggest eaters in the world Saturday as she participates in the Bacci World Pizza Eating Championship in Chicago. We've been fans of hers since she won the first-ever turducken-eating contest last Thanksgiving. She is the stuff dreams are made of.

We've seen competitive eaters chow down on some pretty rank stuff (bovine testicles and brains, anyone?) in their quest to eat themselves to fame and fortune. But on Saturday they will face perhaps the nastiest stuff ever to grace a plate: Chicago-style pizza.

Oh, wait ... I've just been informed that Chicago's Bacci Pizzeria, where the Bacci World Pizza Eating Championship will be held, serves enormous thin-crust pieces of pie (we're imagining Koronet-size slices here). I guess that kinda obviates our need to talk shit on that crap that passes for pizza in Chicago.

Anyway, competing in this year's pizzathon will be all 105 lbs. of Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas. If this woman can put away pizza the way she has hot dogs (25 in 12 min.), cheesecake (11 lbs. in 9 min.), and pulled-pork sandwiches (23 in 10 min.), then she's likely to join hey-good-cookin' Brynne Humphreys on the Slice crush list.

Also competing will be New York's own Ed "Cookie" Jarvis (left), who holds the world ice-cream (1 gal. 9 oz. in 12 min.) and cannoli (21 in 6 min.) records.

As much as we're enamored of Ms. "Black Widow" Thomas, however, we at Slice have to throw our weight behind Mr. "Cookie" Jarvis. Not only will he be reppin' the Empire State, but he's gotta school young-punk Mark Skiba into submission. I mean, check out this little dillhole's remarks in the Chicago Trib's story:

Last year's winner, Mark Skiba of Downers Grove, is undaunted by the infusion of talent from afar. He trains once or twice a week, eating three or four pieces of pizza as fast as he can. He drinks about 1 1/2 gallons of water to expand his stomach, and believes he can compete with the likes of Jarvis, who has little trouble eating 10 pounds of food at a buffet.

"He's from New York," said Skiba, 18. "He doesn't know real pizza like from [Chicago]."

Hmm. Then again, if this thin-crust version of so-called real pizza is anywhere near as grody as the Windy City's deep-dish garbage, Mr. Jarvis just might face a disqualification due to "urges contrary to swallowing" (aka "vomiting").

Good luck to all involved (except you, Mr. Skiba).

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As an aside, readers might also want to know that the original Nathan's in Coney Island will be hosting the IFOCE-sponsored International Hot Dog Eating Contest at noon on July 4. Slice will most likely be in attendance to cheer on Japan's Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi as he defends his title (50.5 dogs in 12 min.).

And if watching the speedeaters scarf down dogs makes you lose your appetite for tube steaks, you can always head over to nearby Totonno's for some REAL pizza. If Slice is at Coney that day, we'll be sure to drop by Totonno's afterward.

For the record, Slice Editor in Chief Adam K. recently set a personal pizza-eating record last Friday at Patsy's in East Harlem: 10 slices.

[Thanks to Tien, who spotted this on Gothamist sister site Chicagoist.]

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