Two Members of 2004 U.S. Pizza Team Chosen in Los Angeles
Oxford, Miss.--Two dough pros showed the nation they have what it
takes to lead the United States to a World Pizza Championship next
Michael Shepherd and Joe Carlucci earned a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team
at the Acrobatic Trials held at the Western Foodservice and
Hospitality EXPO in Los Angeles this past weekend. These two men
earned an all-expense paid trip to Salsomaggiore, Italy.
The largest dough stretch, fastest pizza maker and freestyle
pizza-dough tossing were the contests featured in the Acrobatic
The largest dough stretch, a contest to see who can stretch a 14-ounce
dough ball the farthest in under five minutes, was the first
competition held at the Acrobatic Trials.
In the largest dough stretch competition, Shepherd, owner of Michael
Angelo's Pizzeria in Kenton, Ohio, took the lead with a 35-inch
stretch. Brian Edler, owner of four Domino's franchises based in
Findlay, Ohio, placed second with a 33.5-inch stretch. Edler placed
third at the WPC in the dough stretch in early 2003. Stan Miller,
owner of World Famous Pie Zons in Fulton, Miss., placed third with a
This marks the third year that Shepherd will go to Italy as part of
the U.S. Pizza Team.
"(The greatest thrill in winning a spot on the U.S. Pizza Team) was
probably seeing that all these years of tossing pizza got me a trip to
Italy," Shepherd said. "I prepare when I'm making pizzas by practice
throwing and spinning and stretching. I also come in when I don't
have to be here (at work) and practice."
The second event held at the Western Foodservice EXPO was the fastest
pizza maker. This is a contest to see who can hand-stretch and cover
five pie screens with dough in the shortest time possible. Shepherd
took first place in this competition, also, with a time of 1.53
minutes. At the WPC earlier this year, he came in fifth place. Edler
placed second in this category with a time of 2.11 minutes. Ty Dubois,
a former Las Vegas pizza champion and owner of Flying Pie Pizzeria in
Portland, Ore. placed third in this competition.
The final contest of the Acrobatic Trials was the pizza-dough tossing.
This competition was the most difficult. Contestants were required to
perform a two to four-minute throwing routine set to music using five
400-gram dough balls. Judges based their points on the creativity,
variety, dexterity and difficulty of routine.
Joe Carlucci took first place in this contest with his stunning
blindfolded routine. Just a fraction of a point behind Carlucci, was
19-year old Siler Chapman, owner of three pizza stores based in
Charlotte, N.C. Dubois also took third place in this category.
A new exhibition sport called Dough Duels took place at the 2004
Acrobatic Trials. This contest determined who could stretch and toss
as much dough as possible in the air above their head in less than two
minutes. Brian Edler proved to be the Dough Duels champion.
The U.S. Pizza Team is an effort on the part of industry leaders to
bring publicity to the pizza industry and the people who make pizza.
The U.S. Pizza Team is made possible by the support of the following
sponsors: LaNova, CarryHotUSA™, Woodstone, California Milk Advisory
Board, Bellissimo, Marsal & Sons, DoughPro, KB Pizza Crust, Fontanini,
Diamondtouch POS, Univex and Paradise Tomato Kitchens. For more
information on the U.S. Pizza Team, please visit www.uspizzateam.com.