The largely self-taught guitar virtuoso Landen Shaw

The largely self-taught guitar virtuoso Landen Shaw

Pizza eaters, guitar whiz to entertain at business show

Eating a pizza the size of a coffee table will provide bragging rights for years to come.

Eating a pizza the size of a coffee table might not be the defining moment of one’s life, but it will provide bragging rights for years to come.

This Saturday the West Shore Business Show is hosting a good old fashioned pizza eating contest, following up on last year’s big hamburger showdown.

The contest has drawn plenty of entrants, but five lucky eaters will be chosen at random. Each “gurgitator” will face a 27 inch in diameter pizza called the Big Dog, a 12 pound monster about as wide as a typical work desk.

Whoever consumes the most of the meat lovers with mushrooms ‘za in 15 minutes will win of a 50 inch plasma TV. If the winner actually finishes the pizza, they’ll pocket another $1,000 cash.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for a year, ever since we created the biggest pizza in Canada,” said Shawn Waters, co-owner of Top Dog Pizza in View Royal. “Nobody is known to have finished one by themselves.”

Waters, a plumber, and his business partner Phil Calnan, a painter, opened their View Royal business in December 2010, basically on a dare. “Our wives didn’t think we could run a pizza business,” Waters said laughing. “So we bought one out of spite.”

The pair launched the big pizza to differentiate themselves from the pizza delivery pack. They designed a novel oversized pizza pan to vent steam during cooking, so the Big Dog isn’t a big soggy mess. “It was soggy before we learned how to ventilate the pan,” Waters said. “It took a few times. We went through a lot of pizza.”

The pizza eating contest is Saturday, March 31, 5 p.m. at Eagle Ridge arena.

Guitar guru at age 12

When asked to strum a tune, Eric Clapton’s Tears from Heaven flows effortlessly from Landen Shaw’s Gretsch guitar. It’s one of 200 songs the young man can belt out from memory.

At 12 years old and largely self-taught from YouTube videos, Shaw is something of a guitar prodigy, a natural musician. Moreover, he picked up his first guitar only two years ago.

He had about 15 lessons at the outset and has an instructor near his Vic West home for technical help, but mainly it’s watch-and-learn on the Internet, and practising for hours each day.

“My instructors think I pick up songs easily,” Shaw said. “Sometimes if a song is hard it will take days to learn, others I’ll watch and get in 10 minutes.”

He’s done well in his budding career. During the Gene Simmons family event at the View Royal casino last summer, Shaw played “I Was Made for Loving You” on stage for the Kiss frontman. His summer was spent in the Inner Harbour earning far more than the average 12 year old as a registered busker. This Saturday he’s the 5:20 p.m. entertainment at the West Shore Business Show.

His Cort acoustic guitar, one of seven guitars he now owns, is signed by the likes of Canadian music stars Tom Cochrane, Ryan Peake of Nickelback, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, Mike Reno of Loverboy, Scott Brown of Trooper, Bill Henderson of Chilliwack among many others.

The signatures reflect Shaw’s love of blues and classic rock and roll. His favourite musicians are guys that most kids in his generation would consider dinosaurs, if they’d heard of them at all.

“I really like Elvis, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman,” Shaw said. “My dad used to tell me about them, so I listened and liked them better than today’s music.”

The Grade 7 Rockheights middle school student keeps his music largely separate from school. He doesn’t play for the girls, yet, and playing with a school band was short lived — it conflicted with peewee B hockey with the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies.

Shaw expects he’ll strum a medley of 1960s tunes for his gig at Eagle Ridge arena on Saturday. Soft spoken and humble about his talents, he says he’s a bit nervous.

“I’ll just practise songs over and over and hope I don’t screw up.”

Landen Shaw is playing in Eagle Ridge arena at Saturday, March 31, 5:20 p.m.

West Shore business show

The second annual West Shore Business Show runs this Saturday and Sunday and features about 80 West Shore vendors, entertainment and a play area for kids.

The business show will have musicians and events throughout both days, including taekwondo, dance and Segway demonstrations.

“We want to highlight our businesses and promote keeping it in the community and shopping local,” said Ashley Bazowski, the event co-ordinator at Eagle Ridge. “(The vendors) are pretty diverse. Everything from travel companies to local clothing stores. There’s something for everybody.”

When & Where

The West Shore Business Show is Saturday, March 31, noon to 6 p.m. and West Shore Chamber of Commerce mixer 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The show is at Eagle Ridge arena, 1089 Langford Parkway. See for the full schedule of events.