‘El Wingador’ Bill Simmons Due in Court Friday
The eating champion has been accused by police of dealing cocaine.
Facing first-degree cocaine distribution charges and a six-figure bail, Bill “El Wingador” Simmons has filed for a bail reduction hearing and will appear in Superior Court Friday, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Bernie Weisenfeld said.
Simmons, a 50-year-old Woodbury Heights resident best known for his five Wing Bowl titles, has been in the Gloucester County jail on default of $100,000 cash bail since last week, after state troopers arrested him during a car stop in Harrison Township.
It was there state police said Simmons had $8,000 worth of cocaine and more than $4,000 in cash on him. Search warrants executed at two homes connected to Simmons at the same time turned up more drugs, police said.
Simmons has enlisted the help of a public defender, and is now represented by Richard O’Brien. The bail filing came in Wednesday afternoon, and will be heard Friday morning in front of Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr., Weisenfeld said, unless Simmons can get together cash or property to cover his bail in the meantime.
Simmons’ arrest continued to reverberate Wednesday, as SportsRadio 94WIP host Angelo Cataldi, Wing Bowl’s emcee, expressed disbelief on his morning show.
“I am in a state of shock,” Cataldi said on his show. “When I heard this yesterday, I was incredulous.”
Cataldi called Simmons one of the nicest people he’s met, and praised his generosity, even outside of Wing Bowl.
“This has been a really good guy to us in a 100 other ways,” Cataldi said. “I would get in court and testify to his character.”
Simmons was a fixture at Wing Bowl, winning five times, including three in a row between 2001 and 2003. His name stands atop the Wing Bowl Hall of Fame banner hanging in the rafters of the Wachovia Center, after becoming the hall’s first member in 2006.
Though Cataldi said he couldn’t believe the charges against Simmons, he said the law will sort things out.
“I pray he didn’t, because he’s a really good guy,” Cataldi said.
Simmons was trying to spin off his years of competitive eating into a reality show, dubbed “America’s Biggest Eater,” which launched a Facebook page and a YouTube channel, but appears to not have progressed beyond the development stage.
He had also sold a line of El Wingador chicken wings through Swedesboro-based Rastelli Foods, but Andrea Carr, director of public relations for Rastelli, said the company had begun phasing out that line after a period of inactivity. A link to the El Wingador line on Rastelli's website went to a generic page Wednesday.
“Rastelli has not actively worked with Mr. Simmons in quite some time,” Carr said in an email. “We were very saddened to hear about Mr. Simmons’ situation and hope that it is resolved in a timely manner.”
Simmons’ own website, elwingador.net, was offline as of Tuesday, with a note that it had expired at the end of May.