62-Year-Old Speed Eater Clinches TripRewards Cake-Eating Contest

NEW YORK, May 10 /PRNewswire/ — Winning his 12th international eating title, 62-year-old Rich LeFevre of Henderson, Nev., today was crowned “World Birthday Cake-Eating Champion” here for consuming a five-pound cake in 11 minutes, 26 seconds to celebrate the first birthday of TripRewards, the world’s largest hotel loyalty program.

LeFevre, who goes by the nickname “The Locust” and at 130 pounds was among the lightest contenders, beat a dozen hungry, wide-mouthed professional eaters including Eric “Badlands” Booker, 36, of Copiague, N.Y., who placed second and claims 12 international titles, and Tim “Eater X” Janus, 28, of New York, the world’s tiramisu-eating champion, who placed third.

The contest, sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, was held in Grand Central Station before a crowd of spectators and commuters, many of whom stopped by to see legendary former Chicago Bears defensive tackle William “The Refrigerator” Perry participate as an amateur contestant.

“My strategy was to attack the cake with reckless abandon, and it worked,” LeFevre said, wiping gobs of yellow and white icing from his mouth, forehead and glasses. He credited a secondary strategy, gulping water between mouthfuls of cake, for his victory. The cake, he noted, “was very good, too.”

LeFevre has gained international recognition for speed-eating watermelon, chili, corn dogs and doughnuts, among other gustatory pleasures.

In addition to a trophy, LeFevre received one million TripRewards points. The other contestants each received 25,000 TripRewards points. One million TripRewards points can be redeemed for 166 free hotel nights, five months’ of car rentals, 181 $25 gift cards, 30 mountain bikes, 68 blenders, 18 plane tickets or many other rewards.

Replays of the event can be viewed on the Web at http://www.triprewards.com/cake.

Cendant Hotel Group, the world’s largest hotel franchisor, launched TripRewards last year as its single largest marketing initiative to provide a unified loyalty program for its eight hotel brands. Since its launch, the program’s membership base has grown to more than 4 million.

TripRewards enrollment is free and available online at http://www.triprewards.com/ or by visiting any Super 8(R), Days Inn(R), Ramada(R), Travelodge(R), Howard Johnson(R), Knights Inn(R), Wingate Inn(R) or AmeriHost Inn(R) hotel or by calling toll-free, (800) FOR-TRIP — (800) 367-8747.

Featuring points-earning opportunities with more than 6,000 hotels and 50 partners, as well as more than 150 point-redemption options, TripRewards is the world’s largest loyalty program, based on the number of participating hotels.

The program’s “open earn” structure allows members faster access to point earning by staying in Cendant-franchised hotels, renting Avis(R) and Budget(R) rental cars and purchasing everyday products and services from earning partners.

Likewise, TripRewards members can redeem their points for either hotel stays – with no blackout dates – or partner rewards including airline tickets, resort vacations, electronics, home appliances, sporting goods, movie and theme park tickets and gift certificates from 46 retailers and restaurants.

TripRewards members may elect to earn TripRewards points, airline miles or rail points for their hotel stays. A hassle-free online system allows members to check points and redeem for rewards 24 hours a day.

With approximately 80,000 employees, New York City-based Cendant Corporation (NYSE:CD) is primarily a provider of travel and residential real estate services to businesses and consumers in more than 100 countries. Cendant’s Hotel Group, based in Parsippany, N.J., is the world’s largest lodging franchisor with 6,365 hotels representing 515,077 rooms on five continents under the Super 8(R), Days Inn(R), Ramada(R), Travelodge(R), Howard Johnson(R), Knights Inn(R), Wingate Inn(R) and AmeriHost Inn(R) brands. Cendant’s franchised hotels sell nearly one out of every five economy and midpriced room-nights in the United States, and Cendant franchises 10.3 percent of the entire U.S. hotel room supply, according to Smith Travel Research and Cendant financial data. All hotels are individually owned and operated under franchise agreements with Cendant subsidiaries.

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