Minnesota native's appetite for competitive eating paying tuition


It may surprise some of the people who know him only as "Silo," but Eric Dahl is actually passionate about fitness and conditioning.

That would be surprising because the Delano native is paying his way through the University of Wisconsin in part with the prize money he wins by gorging himself on high-calorie food.

USA Today says Dahl is ready to graduate in Madison next month with a degree in computer engineering, after transferring from Rochester Community and Technical College. The newspaper reports he's raised more than $18,000 of tuition money with his winnings on the local competitive eating circuit.

His chowing prowess has earned Dahl the number one ranking from the National Collegiate Competitive Eating Association. And Dahl tells USA Today eating is absolutely a sport, saying the training and preparation he puts his body and mind through are comparable to what elite athletes do.

A September profile in the Wisconsin State Journal says Dahl took part in football, wrestling, and track and field in high school. What does he do in his current sport? One representative competition came at Dickey's Barbecue Pit in the Twin Cities. The challenge was to down four pounds of meat, four pints of side dishes, and four buttered rolls within 44 minutes. USA Today says he polished it off in 39, although the rolls took 20.

Dahl told the State Journal his preparation sometimes involves eating ten pounds of cabbage or broccoli followed by a gallon of water to help stretch his stomach. In an interview with City Pages last year, Dahl said he'd like to stick with competitive eating after graduation while getting involved in the health and fitness field. He says his knowledge of conditioning and calorie intake will help.

While pizza, corn dogs, and burgers are all in his gustatory wheelhouse, one item that is not is the ghost pepper. Dahl says in his blog that his first encounter with the fiery pepper at a Brooklyn Park wing house did not go well.

The State Journal reports Dahl's biggest payday came at the 2012 California State Fair, when he won $2,500 for downing 20 extra large corn dogs in less than eight minutes.

Next Up

hockey rink ice arena

Hill-Murray girls' hockey shut down after 3 players with COVID symptoms kept playing

The players showed 'complete disregard' for the school's COVID

Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 6.18.55 AM

Narrow band of intense snow to bring up to 7 inches to Minnesota

A winter storm watch has been issued where more than 6 inches could pile up.

Icicles; frozen; winter

As Minnesotans brace for huge gas bills, state ups assistance to $1200

Texas wasn't the only state impacted by February's arctic blast.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

3 first-period goals lead Wild over Kings

With three goals in just over three minutes, the Wild sealed their fifth straight victory.

butcher and the boar

Butcher & the Boar makes comeback with new ownership

Local hospitality company Jester Concepts has bought the brand. The new location is still being determined.


Staff at Mankato Hy-Vee incorrectly diluted COVID vaccines for 62 patients

The retailer says that there is no reason for medical concern.

Screen Shot 2021-02-26 at 7.19.58 PM

Twin Cities man going to great lengths to find beloved dog, missing in northern MN

He's hoping drone operators can help him locate Rowdi, his yellow lab.

Hennepin County Government Center

Some Hennepin County Government Center services will be unavailable during Chauvin's trial

Access to the building will be limited during the trail, which begins March 8.

Street sweeper

Driver, 19, killed in collision with street sweeper

It happened Thursday evening near Thief River Falls.