Last Friday, after winning a bug-eating contest at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store in Deerfield Beach, Florida, 32-year-old Edward Archbold beat his fists on his chest victoriously as the crowd chanted his name, “Ed-dy! Ed-dy! Ed-dy!” A YouTube video of the competition, posted by the Miami Herald but since removed by the user, showed it to be a cheerful, if stomach-churning moment.
But not long after his win, Mr. Archbold collapsed and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. None of the other contestants on Friday reported feeling sick and local authorities are currently waiting for autopsy results to determine the cause of Mr. Archbold’s death.
Meanwhile, the store has received a lot of attention for its “Midnight Madness” event. According to the BBC, the 30 competitors signed disclaimers before eating cockroaches and worms raised to be pet food, in an effort to win an exotic pet: an Ivory Ball python.
The store has issued a statement on its Facebook page, excerpted below:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Eddie’s family in this terrible time. Although we just met Eddie the night of the sale, we all liked him right away. All of us here at Ben Siegel Reptiles are sad that we will not get to know Eddie better, for in the short time we knew him, he was very well liked by all.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2012