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As easy as ...

Ron Schilman (from left) tries to out-eat fellow competitors Brandon Ambrose, Ted Tiffany and Paul Jacobsen Saturday afternoon at the River City Eatery in Windom. (Ryan McGaughey/Daily Globe)

WINDOM -- Ron Schilman wasn't even as hungry as he could be, yet it didn't matter.

Schilman, the winner of the inaugural Riverfest Pie-Eating Contest in 2012, defended his championship against four foes Saturday afternoon inside a jam-packed River City Eatery. Schilman downed three full pies over the course of the competition to edge out fellow Windom resident Brandon Ambrose.

Schilman was having little difficulty digesting his second victory in as many years. In fact, he said after his win that he hasn't spent a lot of time beforehand worrying about the outcome.

"We actually went out to King's Wok in Worthington this morning for lunch," Schilman said. "I'd forgotten about this until I got here."

Schilman plunged face-first into the whipped cream/graham cracker crust concoctions like an old pro and appeared to maintain a steady eating pace throughout. Nevertheless, it was clear he wasn't taking the event as something akin to a life-or-death competition.

"When I entered last year I just figured, 'What the heck, it's going to be fun anyway," Schilman said. "This year, a guy I work with said I had to come back and defend my title, which I was going to do. ... Now, I think it's time for a nap."

Ambrose, who was taking part in the contest for the first time, admitted an acquaintance had helped convince him to participate.

"This was recommended by a friend -- or an enemy, I'm not sure," said Ambrose, who described his pie-eating technique as "just bury your nose in it and do it."

As for how sweet delights went down: "The first pie was great. The second pie -- I don't know, it was different."

Ambrose was in the midst of eating his third pie - and just a bit behind Schilman - when the five-minute time limit expired.

"Next year he's going down," Ambrose said of his rival.

The competition was once again sponsored by River City Eatery, a locally owned Windom business located in the community's square. Owner Mari Harries sees the event as a perfect fit for Riverfest.

"One of our specialties here at River City Eatery is homemade pies, and we thought it would be fun do something a lot different for Riverfest right here," Harries explained. "Every year, we hope to make this bigger and better."

Feasting on the pies Saturday afternoon along with Schilman and Ambrose were high-schooler Isaac Steele of Windom and Ted Tiffany and Paul Jacobsen of Minneapolis. Schilman earned a $100 gift certificate to River City Eatery with his accomplishments.

Many inside the restaurant were expected to return Saturday night, considering heavy rains throughout the day had washed out a host of Riverfest activities.

"This is the first time I can remember in my lifetime that they've ever canceled the parade," said Harries, adding that apple, lemon merengue and sour cream raisin are among the traditional "classic" pies offered at her establishment. "We've had a busy day and tonight we're having Jesse Christian (musician) from Sioux Falls -- he's here at least once every other month and draws a good crowd."

Daily Globe Managing Editor Ryan McGaughey can be reached at 376-7320.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

(507) 376-7320