Shells fly at oyster-eating competition

Ian Davis crowned champion after shelling, eating 12 oysters in under 2.5 minutes

From front, Ian Davis and Chris Iannazzone compete in an “oyster shuck and suck” at The Powder House bar and grill. (Feb. 6, 2021) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

When pie-eating contests seem too ordinary, Cordovans gather at The Powder House bar and grill for the Iceworm Festival “Oyster Shuck and Suck,” in which contestants must shell and eat raw oysters at a blistering pace.

Firefighter and paramedic Ian Davis was crowned singles champion at the Saturday, Feb. 6 event after opening and consuming 12 oysters in just under two minutes, 24 seconds. For this achievement, Davis was awarded a $25 gift certificate to The Powder House. Firefighter Chris Iannazzone placed second at slightly over two minutes, 40 seconds.

“What was the experience like?” Davis mused. “Well, it was crunchy… Chris is pretty darn fast at opening those things, so keeping up with him was challenging.”

Iannazzone said he was glad to support The Powder House by participating, and that he planned to compete at next year’s Iceworm Festival. The most challenging part of the competition was avoiding cutting one’s hand or swallowing too large a chunk of shell, Iannazzone said.

Davis participated in the 2020 Oyster Shuck and Suck, but lost to Cordova city planner Leif Stavig. However, Stavig did not compete this year.

“I was kind of hoping for a rematch,” Davis said.

Iannazzone and Crystal Moenaert placed first in the doubles event, with Iannazzone shelling oysters and Moenaert consuming them. Davis and Will Brown placed second in the doubles event, with Davis shelling oysters and Brown consuming them.

“It was good to get out, considering the pandemic and everything,” Davis said. “It’s fun to have a little bit of normalcy.”