WASHINGTON – Sacramento area hamburger aficionado Molly Schuyler on Tuesday defended her title as the Independence Burger Eating Champion in the 9th annual Z-Burger chain contest.

Eight people from all over the country competed for the biggest burger eater title, including such famous competitive eaters as Dan “Killer” Kennedy, Bob “Notorious B.O.B” Schoudt and Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti.

Z-Burger, a Washington local burger company with restaurants around the Maryland, Virginia and D.C. metropolitan area wants to counter Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest each July 4 in Brooklyn, New York.

“It’s at the heart of America. It’s a great event and a great restaurant,” said Bertoletti, a two-time winner. “I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

But Schuyler, from Plumas Lake, California, won her fourth trophy — by eating an unbelievable 27 burgers in10 minutes. She also was awarded $1,500.

“The outcome is good,” said Peter Tabibian, founder and owner of Z-Burger. “This is a time that a lot of people are on vacation, but … we still have a lot of people here.”

And next year – the 10th championship – will be even bigger.

“Next year is going to get bigger and better. That’s all we do. We got to make it bigger,” Tabibian said.

Published in conjunction with Sacramento Bee