BY JAMES BERNICK
A charity pizza-eating contest at Body Bank Fitness in New City raised more than $5,600 dollars for local philanthropic organizations Saturday evening.
The competition pitted trainer Anthony “The Mighty Italian” Muscatella, a graduate of Nanuet High School, against fellow trainer Steven “Mostly Shirtless” Ramos, a New City native who finished third in the state as a wrestler representing Clarkstown North High School in 2009.
According to Body Bank Fitness Manager Nikkii Stears, “The ‘King of the Slice’ competition was a great success…. Anthony Muscatella beat Steve Ramos 16 slices to 14.”
It all began as a friendly junk food eating rivalry between two employees at the New City personal training center. The fun showdown was consistent with the spirit of the place, Matt Wachtel, founder and owner of Body Bank Fitness, explained. “We believe in the work hard, play hard method of physical excellence. The way we explain it to our clients, if you diet hard enough and work out hard enough, you ought to be able to cheat.”
For trainers Muscatella and Ramos, this competitive cheat day concept evolved from a friendly wager to see who could eat more pizza in one sitting into a full blown community fundraising event. The rules were simple: whoever consumed more slices of pizza in one hour would be declared the winner.
The competitors would be sponsored by friends and family for the event and each slice consumed meant additional dollars would be donated to charity. Ultimately, the event proved to be a financial boon for the three local charities involved. Muscatella collected pledges for a combined $250.50 per slice and consumed 16 slices, raising $4,008 overall. Ramos put away 14 slices and was sponsored for $118 per slice, earning a total of $1,652 for the charities.
Stears said the proceeds will be split evenly between People To People, United Hospice of Rockland, and The Mary Nagle Charitable Foundation.
“Body Bank Fitness has been in business for five years but this is our first time doing the contest,” said Wachtel. “Given the success we had this year, it may turn into an annual event.”