Hampton Weber might be president of the University of Minnesota Lettuce Club, but his reign isn’t encumbered by a technocratic obsession over details.
“I actually don’t know anything about the history,” the freshman business major tells us, hastily assembling documents he inherited. “I believe it’s only a few years old… it says the first official winner was in fall 2019… I guess they didn’t take time back then.”
It took Weber 2 minutes and 35 seconds to consume an entire head of iceberg lettuce, which is the entire premise of U of M Lettuce Club. (He smoked last semester’s best time of 4:41.) By winning the fastest time, he automatically became president.
Weber learned of Lettuce Club just an hour before his Nov. 14 victory; a buddy convinced him to compete at the last second.
“I said, ‘Screw it, let’s go,’” Weber recalls.
Lettuce Club only convenes for twice-yearly scarf-a-thons, and this most recent gathering of around 70 students happened to be recorded by Adam “Rone” Ferrone of Barstool Sports. The podcaster/blogger posted the leafy carnage to TikTok, resulting in almost 2 million views.
That notoriety led to Weber’s first big win as president: The Ocean Mist Farms wrapper from his head of lettuce caught the attention of the California-based grower, who’ll now be providing produce for the spring competition.
“It’s kinda funny, they DM’d me,” Weber says, noting that he purchased the lettuce from Cub. “I had no idea what brand I ate.”
Nine written U of M Lettuce Club rules exist, Weber notes, including: iceberg only, heads must weigh a pound, dressing allowed, competitors must eat the entire head plus scraps, and only U of M students with a remaining semester of eligibility may compete. The winner must signal victory by hoisting a cleaned-off stem and demonstrating an empty mouth.
When asked earlier this morning, Weber said he has no idea if lettuce clubs existed on other campuses—“I have not done any research.” A cursory Google search reveals that lettuce clubs sprang up as a teen Tumblr trend around 2016, catching the attention of Buzzfeed (makes sense) and NPR (huh). Weber was kind enough to dust off and recite the U of M chapter’s creed, which begins: “Lettuce compete today with honor, glory, and, most importantly, a mild appetite for leafy vegetables.” The puns, he notes, accelerate from there.
Expect steady, hands-off leadership from the U of M Lettuce Club for the next few months.
“Obviously, I have to kinda run it now, but it’s fun to know that I don’t have to really do anything,” Weber tells Racket. “It’s fun to be the head of something that’s weird and kinda fun… I don’t know. I think I’ll definitely try to grow it as much as I can. It’s not something I thought I’d get into, but it’s a very, very minimal time commitment.”
Most importantly, he adds: “It makes people laugh.”