Pie champ row settled with TV eating contest

Matt Backhouse and Barry Rigby on Judge Rinder disputing the outcome of the 2014 World Pie Eating Contest
Matt Backhouse and Barry Rigby on Judge Rinder disputing the outcome of the 2014 World Pie Eating Contest
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A dispute over the outcome of the 2014 World Pie Eating contest was resolved on national television yesterday with a “pie-off”.

Former champion Barry Rigby took organiser and pub owner Tony Callaghan on ITV1 show Judge Rinder after he was denied the title.

The competition two years ago was declared null and void after an issue with the pies used was raised afterwards.

Defendant Barry stood alongside fellow entrant Matt Backhouse, who also claims he should have won the 2011 prize when he was disqualified for spillage.

The pair went head to head back in 2014 after winning their respective heats.

Barry, from Hindley, beat his Salford opponent and was pictured with the “Bradley Piggins” trophy.

However, a problem was discovered and Tony took the unprecedented step of retracting the title.

He appeared in court alongside his head chef, John Fairhurst, who told Judge Rinder that he had made two batches of pies that day.

The competition pastries should have measured no more than three and a half inches.

However, the ones that were taken to Harry’s Bar, which has hosted the contest for 24 years, were over five inches.

A mix-up had ensured the wrong batch was delivered to a divorce party being held at one of Tony’s other pubs.

“They’re normally hot pies, but the ones John brought over were cold,” said Tony.

“When John started to open the pies, I realised they were too big. I briefly chatted with John and there had been a mistake.”

However, despite noticing the issue beforehand, the contest went ahead because Tony was scared of upsetting the contestants. “I feared for my life,” he told the judge, much to the hilarity of the audience.

Barry wanted £150 in damages, claiming that when he won the title in 2008 he appeared on television and in magazines.

To rectify the issue, though, it was decided that a televised pie-off between Barry and Matt would decide the title with the Wiganer coming out on top.

As Tony counted down how long the pair were taking, judge Rinder said likened the event to “Countdown for morons.”

Afterwards, both parties said they were happy with the outcome with the Judge saying that Tony didn’t have to hand over £150.

Barry said: “I’m delighted to get the title back.”

Tony added: “It’s a pity he had to take me to court but it was all a good laugh and was great publicity for Wigan and the contest.”