Fort Myers Beach Firefighter Joel Martinez can really suck down shrimp. Martinez won his third consecutive shrimp eating contest Sunday afternoon at the 64th annual Lions Club Shrimp Festival in Lynn Hall Park. He downed 2.8 pounds of cooked and peeled pink gold shrimp, topping his total from 2019 of 2.6 pounds.
Watch the entire 2023 shrimp eating contst HERE (courtesy of Beach Talk Radio news roving reporter Steve Duello)
We reached out to Martinez after his big victory. He said it was a great event and the field of shrimp-eating competitors had him a little worried. “Wow what a great competition this year there were so many great competitors I really had to bring my A game. It was rough powering through the over 2.7 pounds of shrimp. I just kept focus and kept chewing. I want to thank the Lions Club for hosting the Shrimp Festival and a big thank you to my local firefighter union 1826 for sponsoring me in this charity event. The festival was a great time with the whole family. I won this one for my little baby shrimp champ due in August.”
When we asked Martinez how he trains for the event he simply said, “I ate a big meal the night before.”
He also added he’s been chewing gum a lot. We’re not sure if that’s part of his training routine or to help with his breath after the event.
No word yet from Martinez if he plans to take his shrimp-eating talents to a national stage.
Only one other contestant (out of 11) was able to eat over 2 pounds.