Guinness World Records has confirmed that the world record for shrimp has been broken... in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The attempt to break the record was conducted on October 16, 2014 at Doc's Seafood & Steaks, with two Nueces County deputies participating as stewards required by Guinness World Records guidelines.
The previous record, set on February 26, 2003 and held by William E Silver in Asheville, NC was 272.1 grams of shrimp eaten in three minutes. While many perceive the process of attempting a world record as "easy" or simple, it is not—according to actual record holders.
In the case of the shrimp world record, the attempt requires that one hand remain behind the back at all times. Additionally, a restaurant-standard seafood fork must be used for all bites, with no shrimp eaten by hand. The most-stringent requirement may be that only one shrimp may be eaten at a time—each shrimp must be fully swallowed before proceeding to the next.
According to Nueces County Constable Bobby Sherwood, their deputies are occasionally called on to assist with activities that positively effect the community.
"We like to help whenever we can, consistent with our deputies' schedules and always on a workload-permitting basis. The safety of our community is always tops on our priority list, so activities like this come second to safety,"Sherwood said.
When Michael Benton, a deputy for Nueces County Constable Precinct Four, arrived on scene at Doc's Seafood & Steaks, he was in uniform after a full day on duty in Port Aransas. Once the guidelines and requirements were read to all in attendance, Deputy Benton handcuffed the left hand of "Island Tom" Hartford to his back-side belt loop—a tactic suggested by Benton for its safety benefits (Island Tom had asked to be handcuffed to his chair to prevent disqualification). Had the shrimp-eating attempt resulted in a choking episode, Island Tom's belt loop could easily be broken if necessary.
Flour Bluff ISD football coaches George Henderson and Robert Volkman were employed as stewards during the attempt. Volkman is a 10-year reserve deputy (Sergeant) for Nueces County Sheriff's Office. As required by Guinness, a food industry expert, Terri Wilson with Sysco Foods, was also employed as a witness and to ensure that the weights and measures were exact, that an accurate restaurant food scale was used, properly zeroed and set to measure in grams and kilograms. A backup food scale was standing by.
With two HD video cameras rolling, hi-res still cameras clicking and everyone clear of the cameras, Island Tom took the countdown and started to eat. Exactly three minutes later, the record had been broken by just six grams—or so they thought.
Following months of waiting and a thorough review of slow-motion video, the London-based records team issued the Guinness World Record and published it worldwide at www.GuinnessWorldRecords.com—the official website for Guinness.
During the attempt, an official from Texas World Records was also in attendance as a witness, and confirmed that a new Texas World Record for "Most shrimps eaten in 3 minutes" had been set in Corpus Christi.
When asked, the general manager of Doc's, Chris Veltri, replied "We're glad to bring the world record for shrimp eating to Doc's—we're one of the most-popular dockside seafood restaurants in Texas... and now we're home of the Guinness World Record and the Texas World Record for shrimp eating!"
Island Tom is a licensed airline transport pilot with over 35 years in aviation, a former test pilot for RAM Aircraft and Flight Check Airman for McDonnell Douglas—as a civilian flight instructor for the U.S. Navy's E-6 TACAMO program, flying Boeing 707s for aerial refueling training out of Waco, Texas and Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a licensed turbojet flight engineer and a licensed A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) mechanic. Hartford is now a full-time event producer, a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) for South Texas and producer of America's annual MustangFest, held last year on the Flight Deck of the USS Lexington aircraft carrier with some 175 Ford Mustangs participating from 26 states plus Mexico.
Hartford's other events include EnchiladaFest, Muscle Car Week, MariscoFest, 'RitaFest and SeaFoam International Beer Tasting Festival... sponsored by Andrews Distributing.