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Roscoe Village man to rep Chicago in beer holding competition

August 13, 2012|By Mick Swasko | RedEye

Rob Garcea already proved he's literally the best in Chicago at holding his liquor. Now he's taking the talent he didn't even know he had to New York.

The 30-year-old Roscoe Village resident said he hadn’t even heard of a beer stein holding competition--called Masskrugstemmen--when he stumbled into Uberstein after a Cubs game about six weeks ago. But on Friday, he came back a little more prepared, and won a trip to New York to represent Chicago in a national Masskrugstemmen championship.

"I’m just excited to say I am from Chicago," he said. "It feels good, I am kind of pumped about it."

The rules are simple. Competitors hold a full stein of German beer--that’s one liter and about 5 pounds--directly out and parallel to the floor, elbow locked, for as long as possible. For Garcea, five minutes was enough to outlast the five other competitors. He was even told he was a "lock" for winning that night.

But he’ll have to do better when he competes in front of 5,000 people in Central Park on Sept. 15, which is coincidentally his birthday. Last year's winner held out for close to 10 minutes, and the world record stands at more than 20.

At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, the carpenter by trade said he doesn’t work out much because his job keeps him in good enough shape. But he said he’s thinking of investing in some kettle bells to hang on to in order to train for the event.

“All this is beyond expectations,” he said of the free trip, a chance to march in the German-American Parade and a shot at attending Oktoberfest in Munich.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story indicated the winner of the New York competition would move on to compete internationally in Germany. This is not the case. The winner in New York wins a trip to Munich, but not during Oktoberfest. There is no international competition being held.

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