On July 3, Key West, Florida, celebrated Independence Day with a unique event: the Key Lime Pie Eating Championship. This competition, held in the birthplace of Key lime pie, offered a sweet alternative to New York’s famous hot dog eating contest. Joshua Mogle, a 38-year-old tire manufacturing manager from Altoona, Iowa, emerged as the champion.
In this messy challenge, contestants were forbidden from using their hands while devouring a 9-inch Key lime pie topped with whipped cream. Mogle, demonstrating his enthusiasm and determination, plunged face-first into the pie and finished it in an impressive three minutes and 35 seconds. Despite facing stiff competition from 24 rivals, Mogle emerged victorious, claiming the title in the culmination of the Key Lime Festival which lasted five days.
When questioned about his strategy, Mogle humorously stated, “Eat … eat … eat … always have pie in my mouth.” His approach paid off, and he secured the top spot in what has become a subtropical equivalent to Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest.
Key lime pie, a local delicacy, is believed to have originated in Key West during the late 1800s. The pie’s primary ingredients include condensed milk, egg yolks, and the juice of tiny yellow Key limes. It is typically served with a graham cracker crust and topped with either whipped cream or meringue. In 2006, the flavorful dessert was officially designated as the state pie of Florida by the state legislature.
Interestingly, the Key Lime Festival’s pie-eating competition took place just one day after the creation of the world’s largest Key lime pie. Measuring an impressive 13.14 feet in diameter, the colossal dessert was intended for the bicentennial celebration of the Florida Keys. Organizers submitted it for certification as the largest Key lime pie ever made.
The significance of July 3 extended beyond the Key Lime Festival. It marked the 200th anniversary of Monroe County’s establishment, which includes the entire Keys island chain. The Florida Territorial Legislature commemorated this historic milestone by creating the county.
Overall, the Key Lime Pie Eating Championship provided an entertaining and delicious way for Key West to celebrate Independence Day. Joshua Mogle’s impressive pie-eating skills and dedication secured him the victory, making this event a memorable highlight of the Key Lime Festival. Key lime pie, a beloved local dessert with a rich history and authentic flavor, continues to be celebrated and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike in the Florida Keys.