Down the hatch


OBSERVER Staff Writer

Gentlemen, start your stomachs.

Eight men went head-to-head in a hamburger eating competition to support a good cause. The Rainbow Inn of Dunkirk hosted the first-ever “Brandonator” eating contest to support the Chautauqua Fallen Heroes Fund.

Each man was given four “Brandonators,” a specialty for the Rainbow Inn, to start with. Each had to consume the most hamburgers in 15 minutes. Each hamburger contained two beef patties, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and the special “Brandonator” sauce and is named after Brandon, owner Leigh Gloss’ son.

Gloss was approached by Doug Gula who wanted to do the contest. Since the restaurant already has the special burger on its menu, Gloss thought it should be the specialty for the contest. Gula also served as emcee for the event.

“Doug Gula approached me and without him it wouldn’t have ever happened,” Gloss said.

Gloss then decided to incorporate funding for the Chautauqua Fallen Heroes Fund because of her boyfriend, Larry Klajbor, who works for the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. The Fallen Heroes Fund was established in 2002 to provide support to spouses and children of uniformed first responders who have died or have been critically wounded in the line of duty.

Prior to the eating contest, John Carlton said his strategy was to take it slow and steady although the plate full of burgers was a bit intimidating.

“The (hamburgers) don’t look too bad individually, but four together are intimidating,” he said.

Other contestants prepared by eating. Contestant Phillip Law prepared by eating meatloaf sandwiches made by coworkers. Following the contest many said they were feeling full and ready to sleep.

“I’m ready for a nap,” Alan Wolf said.

Results for the contest were as follows: Nick Hogg and Carlton ate one hamburger apiece; Kurtis Wolnik ate two hamburgers; Chris Ramos, Mike Gloss, Brandon’s father, Law and Wolf all ate three burgers apiece; and winner Robert Thompson of Dunkirk ate four whole hamburgers. He was presented with an award, a T-shirt and a crown to be the “Brandonator of the Year” from Brandon.

Gloss wanted to thank participants and those who came out to support a good cause. She hopes to make the event an annual tradition and plans to host it next year. To contribute to the Fallen Heroes Fund, contact the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation at 366-4892.

Comments on this article may be sent to