Travis Mizejewski didn't think he'd win Saturday's contest. He ate 17 at last year's Brat Days Festival but lost to Bobby Smith, a Racine man who'd eaten 20. But when Smith didn't return to defend his title, Mizejewski had the opening he needed to become the 2014 Brat Eating Champion.
Asked how he felt afterward, the 34-year-old simply replied, "Full."
With his win, Mizejewski took home $500 and a year's supply of Johnsonville Sausage. He also won $500 for the charity of his choice, which was Sheboygan Neighbors Against Drugs, Sheboygan Press Media reported.
Kym Leibham, who organizes the annual event for Johnsonville, said it's always a crowd-pleaser. Registration generally starts around March or April, but people begin asking to sign up as early as December.
"I actually had somebody today ask me if they could register for next year already," Leibham said. "I said no."
She praised the 18 competitors for their cooperative spirit. Instead of focusing only on winning, contestants were cheering each other, even people they didn't know.
"I have to say, they were a pretty cohesive group," she said.