Fastest pie eater in the World - Wigan man wins the World Pie Eating Championship

The moment Barry Rigby secured the title of World Champion pie eater

  • Article by ITV Granada Reports journalist Jennifer Buck

It is a Wigan tradition that stretches back 26 years and now the World Pie Eating Champion for 2023 has been named.

World champion pie eater Barry Rigby celebrates with his trophy and another meat and potato pie Credit: ITV News

49-year-old Barry Rigby works nights as a warehouse assistant but takes his pie eating very seriously.

He has won the title three times and took the 2023 crown after eating a meat and potato pie in just 34.5 seconds.

Tony Callaghan overseas the pie eating championship Credit: ITV News

Piemaster Tony Callaghan says the rules are simple: "You have to eat a full meat and potato pie and show an empty mouth before the clock stops."

The pie has to be the optimum heat "not too hot and not too cold" making it is easy to eat.

He says "people have different ways of eating the pie, some people break it up but Barry just throws it in as quickly as possible and it's gone!"

Barry was one of 15 competitors in the coveted event and says as a returning champion he knew his winning techniques would work.

He said: "You've got to take small bites and keep chomping at it, swallow it quickly and get it down you as quickly as you can without dropping any bits."

Barry added: "It's an important local event and a good thing to take part in."

The competition has been forced to take a two year break due to covid restrictions and now people travel from miles around to take part.

Professional pie eating is not for the faint hearted and there is no need to 'man up' to take part.

Karen Backhouse was the only female entrant in the competition, travelling from the Cotswolds with her husband to vie for the winning spot.

The 53-year-old has previously won a Yorkshire Pudding eating competition, but says she knows Wigan is the place to eat pies so she was keen to come and take part.

Karen and Matt Backhouse travelled from the Cotswolds to take part in the pie eating championship Credit: ITV News

Husband Matt has entered 12 times, but has yet to secure the title and now has tough competition from his competitive wife .

"She's a faster eater than me," Matt, used to live in Wigan, said. He added that after moving to the Cotswolds it was worth traveling back to take part.

The Pie eating championship takes place at Harry's Bar in Wigan Credit: ITV News

Barry now has bragging rights at the pub as the fastest pie eater not just in Wigan, but the World.

He takes his trophy back to his wife who he says: "She won't be suprised I won, I eat a lot of pies."

Barry will be back next year in the hope of keeping his pie eating crown.