World Pie Eating Championships: Barry Rigby claims third victory by gobbling pie in just 35 seconds

Barry Rigby beat rivals for the third time in the World Pie Eating Championships in Wigan.

Hometown hero Barry Rigby gobbled up a hat-trick of victories in the World Pie Eating Championships on Tuesday (24 January).

Warehouse worker Barry, 49, from Wigan, wolfed down a 12x3.5cm meat and potato pie in a lightning fast 35.4 seconds to take the crown of world champion for the third time. Barry, who previously won the championships in 2009 and 2014, beat 16 rivals to take home the coveted Bradley Piggins trophy .

He said: “It’s been delayed because of Covid and the bad weather, I’ve just been waiting for it to start up again after a two year absence. I’m a three-time world champion now. The trick is to take small bites and get small chunks in your mouth and swallow them as quick as you can.”

Competitive crust munchers including previous winners Ian Gerrard, 43, and five-time champ Martin Appleton-Clare, 41, took part in the contest at Harry’s Bar in Wigan. The event, which sees finely tuned athletes from around the world take part, was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid regulations. And its comeback, scheduled for last month, was put back for bad weather.

Organiser Tony Callaghan said: “Barry first won the title in 2009, but demonstrated he’s lost none of his talent.

“He matched the last championship winning time, pre-pandemic in 2019, set by a monster of the sport Ian Gerrard: 35.4 seconds.

Hometown hero Barry Rigby gobbled up a hat-trick of victories in the World Pie Eating Championships Credit SWNS

“It was a high quality chunder - that’s the collective noun we use for elite pie eaters - who barely left a crumb for the cleaners and demonstrated their true potential by hanging round for a free lunch afterwards.

“Although in the contest some did show that time away from the table during the pandemic does take its toll with a few competitors fighting swallow stall throughout. However, our efforts to follow a policy of sustainability have tripped up after the work experience lad was given instructions to find a recycled trophy but came back with a cycling club cup.”

The competition has been held in Wigan - where locals are known as pie eaters - since 1992. Some say the nickname comes from local miners “eating humble pie” after going back to work during the general strike of 1926.