Randy Santel graduated with a Construction Management degree from Missouri State University in 2008 where he also played for 3 seasons as an offensive lineman on the Missouri State Bears football team. Before that, he grew up in St Louis, Missouri and graduated with honors from Duchesne High School in St Charles, Missouri. In 2010, he won the National Men’s Health / Spartacus Transformation Challenge and was flown to Auckland, New Zealand to appear in an episode of the TV series Spartacus. The week after completing the transformation contest, he completed his very first food challenge on March 19th, 2010, which was The 28″ Pointersaurus Pizza Challenge in St. Louis, Missouri. He now has over 185 food challenge wins in over 19 states and 8 countries throughout the world. Last year Randy spent 44 days traveling through 8 countries in Europe attempting 29 large food challenges during the trip, finishing with 27 wins and just 2 losses. Upon completion of the trip, Randy received a Masters Degree in Food Challenges from FoodChallenges.com University (which he owns).
The entire concept of FoodChallenges.com was created by Randy, and it was developed by 321 Solutions out of Tampa, Florida. The logo was developed by Krazed Kat Creative in New York City. Randy currently operates the site from the International Headquarters which is in his parent’s basement in St Peters, Missouri. Upon being able to purchase a reliable vehicle, he plans on moving on to other parts of the world to live and promote FoodChallenges.com. He is currently the chief operator of the site along with the content writer, teacher, marketer, professional eater, and administrator. He also operates all the FoodChallenges.com social media.
Mitchell Dombrowski is the Director Of Media Production for FoodChallenges.com and is in charge of shooting, editing, and producing all videos and other media that the site exhibits. Mitch also produces all videos for Randy Santel and his other company Atlas & Zeus Promotions, LLC. He graduated from the University Of Wisconsin – Whitewater, where he earned his degree in Media Arts and Game Development, focusing on multimedia video production. Mitch has food challenge wins in 5 countries throughout the world, and spent 30 days with Randy traveling Europe during his 2013 tour. Mitch and Randy have now been working together since March of 2013.
A Brief History Of FoodChallenges.com (By Randy)
When I first started doing food challenges in 2010, I had absolutely nobody to turn to and no website to go to so that I could find out how to train for food challenges or strategize to win them. Everything I learned was self-taught through a lot of trial and error. After about 75 food challenge wins, in October of 2011, I created my first site RandySantel.com to help people learn how to win food challenges and eating contests. I even added a few pages to help restaurant owners create better challenges and host eating contests. I also included a lot of information and helpful advice regarding nutrition and fitness to go along with me winning the transformation contest that is mentioned above. It took a long time for me to write all the content, but I got great feedback.
In late 2011 after RandySantel.com was already live, I got in contact with a family friend’s son who owns SuretyBonds.com, and he explained to me the power of SEO and owning a “top-level domain” name. My past background was in construction and I was still working in construction, so this world was all new to me. We also discussed very basic ideas of having a community based website where everyone could interact with each other. In March 2012, my friend bought the domain FoodChallenges.com from the previous owner, and held it for me until I could buy it from him later. We both had no idea though that I wouldn’t be able to buy it until mid 2013.
When I do things, I give 110% or nothing, and there is no level in-between. I only cared about food challenges and nutrition, but there were not opportunities to make money, so I stuck with construction. In February 2013, I got fired from my fourth construction job, and decided it was time to take control and make a change in my life. On April 10th, 2013, I moved up to Omaha, Nebraska to sell roofs after a massive hail storm for a company that my really good friend Todd was involved with. I took 7 months off from food challenges and the rest of my life so that I could sleep on an air mattress and focus on nothing but making the money required to build my dream FoodChallenges.com and everything required to get my ideas started. With no prior sales experience, and in a very competitive environment, I sold over $550,000 in roofs and exterior work, and also managed it all too.
I did exactly what I set out to do while in Omaha. I knew I wasn’t ready yet though to really put together the website that I had in mind, and that I needed more experience. From November 11th to December 23rd of 2013, I spent 44 days traveling through 8 different countries with my sister and Mitch (at different times during the trip). I did all of my own PR and I funded the entire trip myself. I won 27 food challenges out of the 29 that I attempted, and I appeared in over 20 newspapers throughout 6 of the countries. I beat multiple high-profile challenges, and through that experience, I knew that I had gained the knowledge required to build my site into what it needed to be. The contract to build FoodChallenges.com was signed on October 4th, 2013, just over a month before I left for Europe. I started working on the food challenge database and content in the middle of January, and worked day and night non-stop until the site officially went live on June 16th, 2014, at 9am cst.
The Many People To Thank
– At the end of 2013, I sold off and donated every bit of “stuff” that I had in my really nice 2 BR apartment so that I could move back home with my parents to work on the site without any unnecessary expenses or “stuff” holding me down. This site would never have happened without the help of my mother and father, so thank you to them for letting me move home and work in the basement. It has been great seeing them everyday!! 🙂
– Thank you also of course to Mitch Dombrowski for taking care of all video related things while I worked on building the site. Not having to worry about the videos was a huge burden taken off my shoulders, because like construction, I hate video editing. Europe was a lot of fun with him, and I look forward to future adventures.
– Thank you so much to Ramsey “The Mantis” Hilton for helping me with the website. He added basically all of the USA food challenge information into the database while I took care of the rest of the site. He saved me over 200-300 hours of work, so this website would not have been possible this quickly without him either. Ramsey has over 120 food challenge wins around the United States, and he has been a very good consultant to turn to whenever I need advice. It was a big relief knowing that he was taking care of the USA challenges because he is the only person that I know who really takes food challenges very seriously, like I do, and he did a great job!!
– Thank you to Dale Funk and his company 321 Solutions for developing the website for me. I got over twenty proposals from different companies around the country to develop the site, and I chose 321 Solutions based out of Tampa, Florida. I definitely chose the right company. It was a long 9 months, but they definitely went way above and beyond my expectations. They took all my wants, needs, and big dreams, and made them reality.
– Thank you to everyone else that played a part in helping to make FoodChallenges.com possible. Thank you to Josh Kayser with SuretyBonds.com for helping me buy the domain name and giving me the initial inspiration. Thank you to my great friend Todd Konitzer with Ignite Media Marketing who has been helping me since 2012, and thank you for getting me involved with the roofing sales position which allowed me to raise the money to pay for everything myself. Thank you to everyone else that has supported me over the years who have helped make this site possible. There have been a ton of ups and a ton of downs, but I would not change a thing 🙂