Edward Archbold was willing to do anything to win an exotic python — even eating bugs both crunchy and slimy. His competitive spirit ended in tragedy. After downing more than 20 giant creepy-crawlies, Archbold vomited, collapsed and died. The grand prize has been put aside in his name and will be given to his estate.
Friday night’s contest at a Deerfield Beach reptile store started with a party atmosphere, with food and drink – besides the bugs. The insect-eating began with an eye on the prize: a female Ivory Ball python that sells for $700.
Archbold, 32, wasn’t a “snake enthusiast” himself, said shop owner Ben Siegel, and it was the first time the West Palm Beach man had been in the store. Siegel described Archbold as someone who would be “up for anything.”
“He seemed like kind of a wild guy – he was wearing a bandanna, wrist bands and a shirt that said ‘Event Staff,’” Siegel said. “He was brought there by his friend, and he was trying to win the snake for him.” Nearly 30 people participated in the contest Friday night, according to Siegel, including his brother Andy and a close friend who ate just one less bug than the winner Archbold. None of the other contestants got sick.
All the bug-eaters were “entirely aware of what they were doing,” and they “signed thorough waivers accepting responsibility for their participation in this unique and unorthodox contest,” according to a statement issued through the store’s attorney, Luke Lirot.