Calgary's best pies at annual Eric Francis Pizza Pigout

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With trophy in hand as the two-time champion, Nico Pasquotti was ready to divulge his secret.

No, not how he managed to scarf down an entire pizza in under two minutes.

But how the 163-pound soccer star masterminded a suspension from the Canadian Premier League that enabled him to defend his title as the Pizza Pigout eating contest champion Wednesday.

“I heard the event was on the 16th and I knew we had a game that day, so I was pretty down and knew it was going to be hard to make it work,” said the Cavalry FC forward, whose club played in Hamilton that same night.

“So I did what I could.”

What he did was get his fourth yellow card of the season two weeks earlier, prompting a league-mandated sit-down that opened the door for his triumph of gluttony.

Coincidence? OK, maybe.

Either way, he made the most of it.

“Earlier today, we were training at the facility and the goal was to burn off as many calories as possible to open it up so I could come here an put on a show,” chuckled Pasquotti, whose club vies for the CPL crown starting next Saturday against Forge FC.


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Mission accomplished.

Pasquotti’s stirring victory in front of 700 pizza-loving patrons at Cowboys capped the 17th Annual Eric Francis Pizza Pigout, which raised $81,000 for three local children’s charities.

Pasquotti handily out-ate Kodette Labarbara, Pete the Plumber, Pete the Electrician and Monier Borhot who accused Pasquotti of not chewing, en route to the cheese-filled championship.

“You put it in your mouth, add water and it goes straight down and you’re good,” said Pasquotti before breaking into a grin.

“I’m just kidding. That’s not how I do it.”

The Pigout was started in 1995 by then-Calgary Sun columnist Francis, with an eye on finding the city’s best pizza.

It has mushroomed into an affair that annually attracts a who’s who of the Calgary sports scene who chowed down on 650 pizzas generously donated this year by 41 local pizzerias and restaurants.

The celebrities, and those who paid $50 for all-you-can-eat pizza, are all VIPs (Very Important Pigs) who spend the first two hours of the event meandering through troughs of gluten (and gluten-free) greatness, sampling slices and rating them out of 100.

They do so to help compile the city’s definitive guide to ordering pizza, while also supporting KidSport Calgary, Kids Cancer Care and the Calgary Police Foundation via silent and live auctions, 50-50 ticket sales and a pizza box raffle that netted one supporter a trip for two anywhere WestJet flies, courtesy of the Calgary-based national airline.


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A massive piggy bank placed at the front of the venue collected almost $5,000 in cash.

Generous cash donations from Weston Foods, Andrew Costello from Pharm Drugstore and W. Brett Wilson added to the causes, which are all aimed at removing various barriers facing youngsters in Calgary.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the generosity shown this year and every year from Calgary’s wonderful sports community I’ve been so proud to be a part of the last 25 years,” said Francis, now a Sportsnet columnist and TV analyst.

“Next year, our little pizza party will surpass the $1-million mark raised for local charities, which blows my mind. I never could have imagined anything like that when I started this at Dusty’s Saloon with about 100 people, including Doug Flutie, Jeff Garcia, Bret Hart, Billy Powers, Sugarfoot Anderson, and Buckshot helping out.”

Buckshot was back again this year, rubbing shoulders with delighted fans who also got to chat with the likes of Brad Treliving, Kyle Shewfelt, Robyn Regehr, Mike Commodore, Jon Cornish, Junior Turner, Bearcat Murray, Cody Snyder, Brandon Smith, Kelly Hrudey, Ian Allison, John Bean, Rob Cote, Mike Cvik and endless Olympians and media-types.

Flames announcer Beesley, one of 30 volunteers who make the event possible, did a masterful job as emcee once again despite falling off a stage in the summer, hospitalizing him for over a week with serious injuries.

Local community leaders like Tammy Truman, Stephen Gillette, Brad Mechor, Tony Spoletini, Rob Meloff, Ross Babcock, Arfan Devji, Marshall Toner, Dan Carey and Colin Hewko all chipped with significant donations or sponsorships to help raise almost 20% more than a year earlier — no small feat in today’s economy. The Flames, Stamps, Hitmen, Roughnecks, Spruce Meadows, Cavalry FC, Obsidian Energy and the Wood Automotive Group all contributed significantly to the event’s success.


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Everyone left with a map of the 41 pizza purveyors, so those in attendance could continue to support them all year long.

Francis’ Pigout is also making a difference in other cities now, as he helped former Olympian and The Amazing Race Canada host Jon Montgomery start one in Victoria three years ago.

Francis has also passed the baton to Jason Gregor and KidSport in Edmonton, where that city’s inaugural Pizza Pigout will be held this week.



4th Street Pizza – Pop’s Supreme

Allora Everyday Italian – Margherita

Atlas Pizza – All Meat

Avatara Pizza – Beyond Meat

Blaze Pizza – Green Stripe

Cibo 17th Ave – Wild Boar

Coco Brooks – The 808

Eastside Mario’s – Shawnessy – Braised Beef

Eddy’s Nest – House Special

Gus’s Pizza – Pepperoni, Mushroom, Green Pepper

Howies Pizza – Tropical Hawaiian

Inglewood Pizza – Curry Butter Chicken

Italian Supermarket – Fiorentino Fig

Jamesons Irish Pub – Truffle Cheese Blend

Jon’s Pizza – Dan the Man

Kings Head Pub – Taco

Lorenzo’s Pizzeria – Pesto Margarita

Mad Rose Pub Royal Oak – Donair

Matador Pizza & Steakhouse – Greek

Melrose Café & Bar – Truffle Mushroom

Michael’s Pizza & Restaurant – Meat Lovers With Mushrooms

Pauls Pizza – Cheeseburger

Pizza Bank – Cajun Chicken

Pizza Mercato – Isola

Pizza 22 + Ribs – Butter Chicken

Poco Loco Pizza – Mexican

Posto Pizzeria & Bar – Potato, Cremem Fraiche, Smoked Pancetta

Sammy’s Worlds Greatest Pizza – Hawaiian

Scotian Style Pizza & Take Out – Meat Lovers


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Spiros Pizza on 17th – Holy Smoke Meat

Stavro’s Sports Bar – Mexican

The Den & Black Lounge – Bison Meatball & Saskatoon Berry

The Garage Sports Bar – Triple Cheese

Tipsy Pig Pub – Malwoody

Tops Pizza & Steakhouse (South) – All Meat

Windsor Pizza Co. – Windsor Classic

Oakridge Pizza – Smokey Chicken Florentine Cacciatore

Carmine’s Pizzeria – The OG

Dover Pizza & Steakhouse – Hawaiian

Vern’s Pizza – Vern’s Special


Coco Brooks – Donair

Italian Supermarket – Tokyo Joe Spicy Tuna

Jamesons Irish Pub – Spicy Shrimp

Kings Head Pub – Thai Chicken

Matador Pizza & Steakhouse – Chicken Wing

Matador Pizza & Steakhouse – Veal-ly Good

Scotian Style Pizza & Take Out – Seafood

Stavro’s Sports Bar – Cheeseburger Royale ‘N Fries

The Den & Black Lounge – Carolina Gold BBQ Jackfruit Pizza

Tops Pizza & Steakhouse (South) – Lasagna Pizza

Oakridge Pizza – Under The Sea

Windsor Pizza Co. – Cheesesteak


4th Street Pizza

Eddy’s Nest

Gus’s Pizza

Sammy’s Worlds Greatest Pizza

Spiros Pizza on 17th

Dover Pizza & Steakhouse


Allora Everyday Italian – Pollo

Jon’s Pizza – BBQ Chicken

Lorenzo’s Pizzeria – Mediterranean Chicken

Mad Rose Pub Royal Oak – Chicken Alfredo

Matador Pizza & Steakhouse – Chicken Spinach Feta

Pizza 22 + Ribs – Buuter Chicken

Sammy’s Worlds Greatest Pizza – BBQ Chicken


East Side Mario’s – Shawnessy

Michael’s Pizza & Restaurant

Pizza 22 + Ribs

Poco Loco Pizza

Scotian Style Pizza & Take Out

Tops Pizza & Steakhouse (South)

Kings Head Pub

Pizza Bank

Pauls Pizza


Atlas – Greek Goddess

Blaze – Red Vine

Cibo 17th Ave – Mushroom

Melrose Café & Bar – Supreme Garden Pesto

Paul’s Pizza – Veggie

Pizza Mercato – Pomodoro

The Garage Sports Bar -VW Vegetarian

Carmine’s Pizzeria – Capo


Avatara Pizza

Howies Pizza

Michael’s Pizza & Restaurant

Posto Pizzeria & Bar

Coco Brooks

Inglewood Pizza

Spiros Pizza on 17th


Tipsy Pig Pub – Pig Pie

Windsor Pizza Co. – The Spitfire

Oakridge Pizza – 4 Season 4 Cheezin

Spiros Pizza on 17th – Cowboy’s & Heroes

Vern’s Pizza – TREX