That was seemingly the idea. Then there was the added requirement of you eating the most bugs, after all it was a bug eating contest -something like the hot dog eating contest at Conney Island each year except this time the food was apparently alive and tasted nothing like beef.
It was called Midnight Madness and the contest reportedly was held by Ben Siegel Reptiles of Deerfield Beach, FL this past Friday night. (Side note: I have been to the shop once when I visited my uncle down in Florida. Nice place and nice folks running it. I have also dealt with them online.) The winner was said to have been Edward Archbold. He supposedly ate dozens of roaches and worms all for the sake of winning a snake, a python valued at $850.00. They said Ben Siegel was reported as saying that Mr. Archbold "was the life of the party". How ironic a well meant comment. Shortly after having won the contest, Mr. Archbold complained of feeling ill. He started to vomit. Someone called 911 for him and he also called 911 himself. He wound up outside the store, my guess would be waiting for the ambulance, when he collapsed. After that, an ambulance transported him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is planned. My guess is that he did not die from eating the bugs. That is my guess because I would not think you would be poisoned that quickly by anything they could have living in them or on them. Of course, I am not a doctor nor a pathologist and they will make the final determination, I am just guessing.
I have always thought that reptile keepers tended to lean toward either being weird, doing weird things now and then, or just liking weird pets. I know that by way of personal experience since I have been keeping them (the reptiles and amphibians not the keepers) since I was about 8 or 9 but now I am convinced more than ever. I am not saying that to deride the memory of Mr. Archbold, there is not anything necessarily wrong with weird as long as it is not harming anyone in any way or violating the law - it just means being different in a sort of far out way.
Eating those bugs, to win a snake, classifies as kind of weird in my opinion. I have to hand it to the late Mr. Archbold though, and to the other contestants, they did something I would probably even be somewhat squeamish about even in a survival situation if bugs were the only food and I was starving. A guy who would eat bugs, to win a contest with a prize of a snake, now that is a different kind of a man. Yet, everyone who met him that night thought he was a nice guy and I would have no reason to doubt that at all had I not read here that he had once been convicted of indecent exposure. Yet, doing something weird or being different, like by eating roaches, in and of itself, does not preclude one from being a nice guy, just ask any of the herpers you know. Indecent exposure, well depending upon the circumstances, that could mean something altogether otherwise as to whether or not he was a nice guy, at least in my estimation.
All in all, it was a life cut way too short. Mr. Archbold was only 32 years old or so said the reports I read. My condolences to the family, friends and loved one, of this fellow herper.
All the best,