Calgary wing enthusiast sets resolution to do just that

When the new year began, many people were likely making resolutions to hit the gym more often, be more organized or try harder stay in touch with relatives.

On the other hand, Andrew Taylor, a born-and-raised Calgarian, was busy calculating how many chicken wings he would have to eat per week in order to stick to his goal of eating 2,012 chicken wings by the time the clock strikes midnight on Jan. 1, 2013.

Taylor, who is a longtime wing enthusiast, said that he was inspired to take on the challenge after hearing about Ryan Hohman of New York City, who ate 2,011 wings in 2011. Taylor said that he snagged the @2012Wingsin2012 Twitter handle early, just in case he decided to do it.

“I checked around on the web to see if anyone else was going to do the same thing or if (Hohman) was going to do it again,” Taylor said. “If there were several people doing it I may not have, but I didn’t really see any buzz about it so I thought I’d go for it.”

Since the beginning of the year, Taylor has been busy not only eating around 40 Calgarian Andrew Taylor decided to take on the 2,012 wings in 2012 eating challenge this year after learning of New York’s Ryan Hohman doing the same thing last year, eating 2,011 wings in 2011.
Photo by: Ashton Faulkner
wings per week, but he has also been posting updates about his progress to the Twitter account, where he has more than 450 followers. He said that having the account is for fun, but it also keeps him motivated to keep going.

Laura Brouwer is one local who’s following Taylor on the @2012Wingsin2012 account.

“I saw someone else on Twitter following it and was intrigued,” she said of why she decided to follow him. “I figured it would be a great way to hear about different venues in the city to try wings at.

“Plus I always feel inspired and motivated with people completing projects.”

Taylor said that he doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions because, like many, he never follows through on them anyway.

“There have been times where I’ve said I would go to the gym three times a week, and I would join the gym and everything and go for first two or three weeks, but then it would turn into, ‘Oh. I’d rather stay home and watch the new episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother,” and I would stop going,” he said.

Still winging it

Taylor has been successful on keeping track so far, having eaten over 400 wings by the end of February. He said that the challenge has opened him up to a lot more restaurants and good places to hang out in the city as he searches for the best wings and the best prices.

“I’m definitely visiting a lot more places that I haven’t before or that I may not otherwise have,” he said. “Usually when I would go for wings, me and my buddies would have our go-to places, maybe three or four places, and now I’m trying to go to a new place each time and check out some of the different spots in the city, and there’s been some pleasant surprises for sure.”

These are a few places Taylor has visited so far where he has enjoyed his wing experience:

• The BottleHouse in Kensington

• The Rusty Cage on 37th Street S.W.

• Bonasera Pizza and Sports Bar on 26th Street S.E.

• Bootleggers on 32nd Avenue N.E.

Instead of just checking out each location and spreading the good — or perhaps the bad — word about the place to his friends, Taylor has actually taken to reviewing the wings and restaurants on the online chicken wing resource: hotwings.ca. He decided to do so after the founder of the site, Michael Wynn, contacted him through Twitter after hearing that he was doing the challenge.

“It’s great that he’s been able to offer up a review of each one, and at the same time it allows people to come and see where he’s been going from week to week,” Wynn said. “He’s a pretty good reviewer, so if he says they’re really good they probably will be because of the amount of places he goes.”

Wynn said that after following the 2011 challenge last year, he was happy to see a local guy take it on in 2012.

“I also think it’s a great opportunity for [Andrew]; he’s a nice guy and it can really turn into an opportunity to meet people, attend some different events and really get out there and find some new places to enjoy wings,” he said.

“A lot of people think it’s a crazy thing to do, because most people will have chicken wings a few times a year, but to meet someone that it just that crazy about them and willing to take the challenge on is unique.”

At least he gets his protein

While some may cringe at the calorie count associated with Taylor’s resolution, he said that it isn’t something he is worried about.

“My friends have joked and said, ‘Make sure you don’t blow up like a balloon!’ and stuff like that,” Taylor said with a smile. “Let’s just say, this isn’t my first time to the rodeo, so although my weight is something I might monitor, it’s not something I’m too worried about.”

Taylor said that he is seriously considering running 2,013 kilometres in 2013 in order to work off some of the pounds he may gain from eating so many wings.

“I already snagged that Twitter name too, just in case,” he said.

Taylor said that although he will have spent a reasonable amount of money and eaten a ton of chicken wings by the end of December with the simple hope of being one of the few to complete such a wing-eating feat, he doesn’t think he will lose his appreciation for the popular appetizer.

“I love them a lot so I’m not sure if I’ll be sick of them,” he said. “I might take a break from them for a few weeks just to kind of let things settle, but I’m sure I’ll be back to enjoying them again in no time.”

afaulkner@cjournal.ca