By Theodore N. Beitchman
Now that we know which teams are playing in Super Bowl 51 on Sunday in Houston — the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons — it’s time to focus on Philly’s version of early February competition:
Wing Bowl 25 at the Wells Fargo Center this Friday morning.
About 150 people attended Wing Bowl I in 1993 to see a competition between two contestants in a hotel ballroom. Last year, over 20,000 witnessed 29 contestants do battle in the city’s largest sports arena.
This Friday, the annual carnival of wing-eating and Wingette-ogling will attract more than 20,000 people who pay real money to get in at 6 a. m.
And afterwards is where the action is.
This year, the history of Wing Bowl goes back to the future:
Toll Man Joe’s, the hottest sports bar in South Philly at 26 E. Oregon, is the official Wing Bowl afterparty!
Which is significant because Toll Man (or Tollman) Joe was Joseph Paul, a longtime Pennsylvania Turnpike worker at the Norristown Interchange who won WIP’s Wing Bowl VIII in 2000. His consumption of 90 wings is a record for fewest wings eaten by a winner. Joe died in 2012.
And that’s Joe in the bar’s logo above.
Joe’s brother Steve is a co-owner along with Steve’s wife Ann, their niece Lori Penrose and her husband Tom, along with Terri Owens, manager of the late, great Finnigan’s Wake.
And Tom Penrose was as proud as a new father when he got the news last week that Toll Man Joe’s would host the afterparty.
“There was lots of competition for the official afterparty designation,” he said. “And we think this event will really put us on the map!”
Due respect, Tom, but Toll Man Joe’s came out of the gate strong in September 2016 and is very much on the map, with great business during Eagles game days and Saturdays for college football and weeknights for Villanova hoops, the Flyers and Sixers, with a very strong piece of the party business.
Hence the Wing Bowl afterparty.
The location is on the heavily traveled Oregon Avenue and Front Street — right across from Tony Luke’s — with plenty of parking. And, if you somehow miss it, Penrose reports that a 30-foot inflatable version of Toll Man Joe will be placed on the roof.
Here are just some of the highlights for Toll Man Joe’s afterparty, which will start just as soon as the wing has been consumed and the 2017 champ crowned at the Wells:
Ric Flair, Ric Flair, limousine riding, jet flying WWF wrestling legend, who will be attending Wing Bowl, will have a meet and greet at Toll Man Joe’s.
“I’m excited,” Flair told the Inky. “I heard there’s like 18-20,000 people and scantily clad wingettes. I guarantee you one thing – I’m not going to get married to any of them.”
Former Eagle Jon Ritchie and Joe DeCamara will be broadcasting on WIP.
Audra McLaughlin, the star of ABC’s “The Voice,” will sing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”
A stripper spelling bee!
And for good measure, Toll Man Joe’s has it own Wing Bowl contestant, Hank “the Tank” Goldey, who placed third in 2009. He’ll be at the bar too for a post-gorge show!