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Muffin Man 

A competitive-eating champs asks: You gonna eat that?

David “Coondog” O’Karma offers a few tips for those thinking about taking part in the eating-contest portion of today’s Muffin Day celebration. Rule no. 1: Don’t try to wolf down a muffin in one mouthful. “Small bites, swallow, small bites, swallow,” he says. “Get a rhythm and don’t stop.”

He should know. The competitive eater from Cuyahoga Falls has snagged trophies in dozens of contests since the early ’70s. From hard-boiled eggs and sweet potatoes to Krispy Kreme doughnuts and bull testicles, there’s no food group O’Karma (who hosts today’s bash in Akron) hasn’t crammed into his mouth. He’s even gone up against Takeru Kobayashi, the guy who wolfed down 50 hot dogs in one sitting. “It was like watching an alien creature from another planet,” says O’Karma. “A very weird, dreamlike experience.” In addition to the eating challenge, today’s fest also features a muffin bake-off, a muffin toss, and a photo booth, where visitors can pose next to a ginormous -- yep -- muffin. There’ll also be performances by champion jump-rope and dance-step teams. Plus, O’Karma will stick around to sign autographs. It’s not like he needs to go home and get ready for the U.S. Hamburger Eating Championship later this month, where he’ll defend his title. “I really don’t prepare,” he says. “For me, it’s just a natural gift from the gods.”
Tue., July 17, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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