National hot dog hopes rest on ‘Humble’ man By Peter Mucha Inquirer Staff Writer The final belches cleared on Saturday, with contests in Camden and California. But only one Philadelphia-area competitor has made it to Friday's legendary hot-dog eating contest on Coney Island, which will be televised live at noon on EPSN. He's "Humble" Bob Shoudt of Royersford, a world-ranked eater who gobbled 38 Nathan's franks last month to win the Philadelphia qualifier. And he's a better burger eater, the vegetarian says. Drexel Hill's Eric "Steakbellie" Livingston ate 20-3/4 in Camden Saturday, but lost to New York hip-hop artist Eric "Badlands" Booker, who ate 27-1/2. On Thursday, Micah "Wing Kong" Collins, also of Drexel Hill, ate 22 at the West Chester qualifier, but lost by a measly half a dog-with-bun to Pat "from Moonachie" Philbin of North Jersey. Shoudt's total was fourth highest among the 19 qualifiers who'll be at the July Fourth gorgefest, so you might think Shoudt stands a chance. After all, he's ranked No. 5 in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eaters and this will be his third straight appearance at the Nathan's national contest. Frankly, though, everyone knows this will be a two-man race. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose last year inhaled a world record 66 to defeat Japan's six-time champ, Takeru Kobayashi, who ate 62. Competitors will have only 10 minutes this year, down from 12, so the winner probably won't wolf down as many, said Shoudt, who's a vegetarian outside competitive eating events. But he's not optimistic about reaching the high 50s, since he hasn't trained hard for this event. "For me it is early in the competitive eating season. ... I am just going to have some fun and enjoy the day." His sights are set on a Tennessee burger chowdown instead. "My focus is on the Super Bowl of competitive eating - the Krystal Square Off V that will take place in October this year. This is the contest that most competitive eaters agree is the big one," he said. Shoudt's personal best, according to the contest website, is 95 burgers - just two behind Kobayashi's 97, the old world record, busted last year by Chestnut's 103. Don't expect to see any Krystal's qualifying events near Philadelphia. The closest store is in South Carolina.
Fireworks? Barbecue? Boston Pops? A celebration of independence? Bah!
As far as I’m concerned, the Fourth of July begins and ends on Coney Island, at the Nathan’s Famous World Hot Dog Eating Contest. For 93 years, people have been lining up to see this freakish intersection of speed and gluttony, fascinated and appalled by the enormous capacity of today’s competitive eaters. Last year, professional gurgitator Joey Chestnut performed a feat reminiscent of the Miracle On Ice, defeating six-time world champ and seemingly unstoppable force Takeru Kobayashi. Not only did Chestnut soundly beat the diminutive Japanese competitor, he set a new world record by eating 66 dogs and buns in just 12 minutes, 11 more than the previous top score.
Don’t think you can just show up and join the fun; these days you have to win a qualifying contest to enter the Nathan’s Championship. Go to the International Federation of Competitive Eating to check out other upcoming events, and get tips on how the pros do their grotesque thing.
St. Pete’s own Dairy Inn will also hold their, much more relaxed competition on July 4th, starting at 11:30 a.m. Stop by the restaurant to pick up an entry form, along with a great burger and a shake.
You can also read my piece on competitive eating to get a little more background, as well as a glimpse into my own mercifully brief foray into the stomach-stretching arts.
On the path to ‘gurgitator’ glory By Dana Yates Alex Shamis/Daily JournalThe winner: Kevin Ross ate 17 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
How much could you stomach for 10 minutes and the chance to bring home $20,000 and a the title of the world’s best competitive eater? Think you could down seven hot dogs? 15? 25? How about 66? Could you scarf down 66 hot dogs and their buns in front of a national audience for a chance to be called Nathan’s Famous Hot dog’s champion? Would you re-digest your own “reversal?” The competition is harder than you think. Each year, “gurgutators” from across the country compete for the Superbowl of competitive eating. Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest is held annually on Conney Island, New York, on Fourth of July. The final spot in the contest was awarded Saturday during an qualifying eat-off at the Shops at Tanforan in San Bruno. Kevin Ross, 26, of Temecula, Calif., took home the trophy and will travel to New York for Friday’s face-off of internationally known superstar eaters. “Most of it, honestly, is mental. If someone would have pushed me harder, I would have eaten more,” Ross said between hot dog infused post-game burps. Ross downed 22 hot dogs and at times he looked like he might “reverse” - to borrow a term from last year’s ESPN broadcast of the Conney Island challenge. He kept it together, though, with the help of fruit punch. A common technique among competitive eaters is to dip the hot dog buns in water to help them go down easier and take less room in the stomach. Ross’ twist includes water and fruit punch. “Anything goes down easier with fruit punch,” he said. Ross traveled from his Southern California home to Dallas for a qualifying competition last week. He ate more hot dogs there, but didn’t win the spot at Friday’s competition. He knows the odds are against him. After all, he was competing Saturday in the home territory of San Jose’s Joey Chestnut, the current champion. Chestnut downed 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes last year and became the first American in years to win the the title. He’s sort of a hero in these parts. Chestnut, 23, made a short appearance Saturday at Tanforan. He signed paper Nathan’s hot dog hats and posed for pictures. “I’m a really big fan, Joey. We’re all rooting for you,” one woman said. The hometown glory doesn’t translate to dollar signs for Chestnut, who admits he “gets no love” when it comes to corporate sponsorships. He works construction by day. Just because sponsors aren’t serious, doesn’t mean Chestnut’s not. He’s in serious training, eating only hot dogs for solid food meals. He’ll fast for two and a half days at a time and drink lots of water to expand his muscles. He will start fasting Tuesday to defend his title on Friday. His goal is to eat the same amount, 66 hot dogs, in two less minutes. This year’s contest runs 10 minutes instead of the usual 12. He’s nervous, but not worried. He’s ready to take on his top competition, Takeru Kobayashi, of Japan. The former champion met Chestnut chew for chew last year, but lost by a few bites and likely made ESPN history for the number of slow motion reruns of someone regurgitating their own food. He blamed his poor performance on a jaw problem before the competition. “I’m going to do my best. I’m not worried about him or his jaw,” Chestnut said. Dana Yates can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 106.
World’s fastest pizza makers? They live here BY JOHN ARUNDEL
June 26, 2008
Times Staff Photo/John Arundel
FAST PIE THROWER: On Tuesday, Eman Dicks of Alexandria tied last year’s record for world’s fastest pizza maker.
Times Staff Photo/John Arundel
District Operations Manager Robert Donner spurred Dicks on to pizza-making greatness.
In the end, it came down to a split second between the two local pizza makers at the “World Series” of pizza making, who both returned to defend their austere titles as two of the world’s fastest pizza makers.
With lightning speed, the two had to hand-stretch fresh dough, pizza sauce and top three large pizzas - one pepperoni, one mushroom and one cheese - as quickly as possible at Tuesday’s competition in Ann Arbor, Mich. “The competion was pretty intense,” said Ester Tadena, a spokesperson for Domino’s Team Washington, based in Falls Church. “While speed was important, it was only part of the recipe.”
But when the stopwatches ended, the two local pizza makers came out ahead as the two fastest in the world. And just maybe perhaps the universe; it has not yet been confirmed by NASA scientists whether the moon is made of cheese. Domino’s Pizza bestowed the title of 2008 World’s Fastest Pizza Maker to Dennis Tran, a manager for the local franchise which includes Alexandria, with manager Emmanuell Dicks of the West End taking third place, beating out dozens of finalists from Domino’s Pizza stores from around the world, as far away as India.
What does this all mean? “Alexandria arguably has some of the fastest pizza makers in the world,” said Robert Donner, Team Washington’s Operations Manager, and Dicks’ pizza-making coach. “We’ve won this competition every year but twice.”
Greater Alexandria also boasts another important distinction: Its residents are some of the most voracious consumers of home-delivered pizza in the nation. With 190,000 residents of Greater Alexandria, its households gobbled up 850,000 Domino’s-made pies last year — or about 4.47 pies per man, woman and child living here, Donner said.
At the Michigan competition, Tran made three large pizzas in an impressive 46.4 seconds, averaging about 15 seconds per pizza. Dicks, 32, clocked a time of 49.1 seconds to make three pies, edged out only by Pali Grewal from England, who took second place with a time of 47.9 seconds.
Dicks, who lives near Landmark Mall, has earned third place in the competition for the second year in a row. Tran, who lives in Silver Spring, won $5,000 in prize money, the Frank Meeks Trophy and the coveted title.
The beloved Meeks, who died in 2004, lived in Alexandria for most of his adult life, where he ran one of the biggest, most profitable Domino’s franchises in history (its Duke Street location alone makes about 90,000 pizzas per year). Meeks, a runner who lived in Mount Vernon, was famous for leading his army of pizza delivery managers in morning runs down the George Washington Parkway, and he liked to challenge his employees to see who could build a pizza the fastest.
While Meeks nearly always won, one Alexandria employee, an Afghan immigrant named Waheed Asim put even him to the test, capturing the title of “World’s Fastest Pizza Maker” seven years running, from 1987-2004. Asim now lives in Kingstwone, where he runs small business.
Tran took up the mantle from there. “Taking second place was not an option,” he said. “This competition brings out my competitive nature. I brought speed and confidence to the table to defend my title. I came here to take first place, and I did.”Tran, a Domino’s team member for 18 years, was the returning champion.
He won the 2006 World’s Fastest Pizza Maker title with a time of 55 seconds and the 2007 title with a time of 49.1 seconds. His 2008 time of 46.4 seconds sets a new world record for Domino’s.
Quality was moderated as two judges highly qualified in Domino’s standard pizza-making practices. “If the pizza was not perfect, it was returned to the competitor who remade the entire pizza, while still being timed,” said Tadena, who watched from the sidelines.
Alexandria food-makers go back into the ring next week at Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Hot dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, when the petite Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas of Alexandria returns to defend her American title on July 4th.
In 2005, Thomas, a 100-pound, 37-year-old Korean-born manager of a Burger King franchies, set a new American hot dog-eating record by consuming 32 hot dogs and buns. She has been winning the American title ever since. She will most likely face four-time world champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, who will return to defend his world championship title.
At stake is the possession of the Coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt, the World Cup of competitive eating. The competition will be televised on ESPN.
Tons of fun booked for Raspberry Fest Saturday Webster City will be a fun place to celebrate on Saturday, during the 10th annual Raspberry Festival at the 7-B Ranch. The schedule of events kicks off at 7 a.m. with an all you can eat pancake breakfast and self-guided nature walks. Those entering the dessert contest need to drop off their items by 9 a.m. Booths, ticket sales, and many other scheduled events will start at 10 a.m. including: a Lewis and Clark Presentation by Roger Wendlick, open shuffleboard, sand volleyball and Island Golf; leisure canoeing, the inflatable amusements and games will be ready for the kids, and the building of the world's largest raspberry dessert will also get underway. Free train rides for the kids will start at 1 p.m. The public is welcome to join in on the many contests that will get started at 11:30 a.m., including a hot dog eating contest, a laughing contest, which is set to start at 12 p.m., a dessert eating contest at 12:30, and a trivia contest at 2 p.m.. Sweet tooths will also be satisfied with many goodies to chose from with desserts, ice cream, kettle korn, and Tropical Snow available. Hy-Vee will also be opening their food court at 11 a.m. Those in the mood for entertainment will have a wide variety with vocal performances by Patti Triebel at 11 a.m., members of the Dance Connection will perform at 1 p.m.; and Mark Gillette and Melissa Borer will play live Celtic music at 2 p.m. The day's entertainment will continue with WCCT's performance of "Anything Goes" at 3 p.m., a talent show at 3:30; and winners of the Raspberry Idol contest will perform at 8:30 p.m. to kick off the performance of Inpulse-a men's high energy vocal group, which begins at 8:45. Anyone looking for prizes and mementos will have a great deal to chose from with raffle and auction items, t-shirt and cookbook sales. Some of the raffle and auction items include gift cards from local businesses, woodcarvings, a washer and dryer from Electrolux, a Eureka Central Vacuum from Estlund Heating and Cooling, and signed sports memorabilia. The fun will come to a close after the fireworks display that is set to begin at 10:15 p.m. The public is invited to come out and enjoy this year's events. For more information visit www.raspberryfestival.com.
Loren "Bubba" Yarbrough was less than two Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs shy of clinching a seat at this year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, N.Y.
Yarbrough, who officially downed 18.5 dogs at the end of Saturday's Georgia Hot Dog Eating Contest at Lenox Square Mall -- a qualifier for the world-famous Nathan's eat-off on July 4 -- was one-and-a-quarter hot dogs shy of Massachusetts' Pete Davekos' 19.25. Yarbrough thought he'd clinched the win but was deducted one-and-a-half dogs because his eating area was excessively "messy," said a Major League Eating official.
Yarbrough was followed by fellow Newnan resident and competitive eater Larry "Legend" McNeil, whose 17 hot dogs took third place.
Yarbrough and McNeil entered the competitive eating circuit in 2005. The two have chowed down together since then, their repertoire stretching from hot dogs to pizza, Krystal burgers, pulled pork, ribs, meatballs, keylime pie, chili-cheese fries, bratwurst and jalapenos -- for which Yarbrough recently broke a record.
The Nathan's contest -- aired annually on ESPN -- is "the Super Bowl of competitive eating, as big as it gets," Yarbrough said.
Not only does the winner receive the coveted Yellow Mustard Belt, but a $20,000 check.
Eating a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog is no easy feat. For those familiar with the dogs, their origin traceable to a vendor cart at Coney Island in 1916, Nathan's dogs are not your average wieners.
"There's an audible snap when you bite into one," Yarbrough said.
The thick sausage and spiced meat is wrapped in a thick casing.
"After about 10, the spices and the thickness get to you," he added.
Yarbrough's personal record is set at 20. According to Yarbrough, the trick is to "build a rhythm."
His training regimen for such an event isn't as gruesome as some may picture. Like other competitive eaters, Yarbrough builds up his stomach's stretch-ability as a competition approaches. He opts for low-calorie solutions. Every day last week, he ate his lunch, set the timer on his watch, and did his best to guzzle a gallon of water in less than a minute.
He and McNeil also train with filling, high-water foods like watermelon. Occasional trips to local buffets are on the agenda as well, just to keep them conditioned.
The pals, both Atlanta city employees, are members of the International Federation of Competitive Eating who enjoy the extra money that comes with wins.
"We like it," Yarbrough said. "It's something fun to do."
To read more about competitive eating, or about Yarbrough and McNeil, visit www.ifoce.com.
Freedom Festival will have a hot dog eating champion
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 By Timberly Ferree, Staff Writer
If hot dogs are your thing then the Linton Freedom Festival has something for you.
Linton's Double Dog will sponsor its first hot dog eating contest at 6 p.m. on July 4 at the Linton Bandstand at Humphreys Park.
The winner will be the contestant who eats the most hot dogs in a 12 minute time frame.
Jared Albright, Double Dog operator, explained, "Hot dogs are fun and we thought it (contest) might add something extra to the Freedom Festival activities. You hear of all the eating contests and Linton doesn't have one."
The winner will receive prizes courtesy of the Double Dog.
"If it (contest) goes over well we'd like to make it an annual event," he added. "It's all in fun."
You must be 18 years of age to enter and the contest is limited to 30 contestants, he noted. There's a $5 registration fee to enter the contest and all proceeds will go back to the community.
Forms can be picked up at the Double Dog's 40 E. Vincennes St. Linton location or the Linton-Stockton Chamber of Commerce.
For more information contact the Double Dog at 847-4900. All contestants must also sign a waiver before entering. Deadline to enter is July 4 prior to the contest.
According to anonymous post on Eat Feats ''Link Buffet''. Andrew Skinny Boy Lane is disenchanted with MlE over a refusal to be a participant at a Nathans Near is Home town and has had enough , this has yet to be officially confirmed. but members have voiced many complaints over the past year only to fall on deaf ears talk of unions . dissatisfaction with judging are just a few , we will keep you poste dif any more developments occurs..The Editor
Don't bring ketchup to this sauce show: Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs may get all the glory when it comes to competitive eating for its Fourth of July contest, but in order to get to New York City you'll have to out-eat your neighborhood at one of several qualifying events. (It's like "American Idol" for the stomach!) Bragging rights come easier at one of many other events sponsored by the International Federation of Competitive Eating, like the Chinook Winds World Rib Eating Championship held in Oregon on July 13. In rib-eating contests, contestants are judged by the amount of meat consumed in pounds when their pile of bones is accounted for. Nathan's defending champ Joey Chestnut will be there to strap on an industrial-sized bib. (Prepare yourself: He ate 8.4 pounds of meat at the contest in 2006). Even if you don't win, you can still chow down at the Smokin' at the Ocean event at Chinook Winds all weekend. Related Stories· World's Easiest Event Registration Page [IFOCE]· Smokin' at the Ocean Rib-Eating Championship Belt [Flickr]· Nathan's Famous and More at Coney Island [Jaunted] [Photo: donita-reason]
Who needs to survive a Japanese game show?by Heather Mallick June 24, 2008 Fans of reality television — this is the polite way of describing people who revel in the humiliation of others — are in for shameful extremes of pleasure next week. Japanese game shows are coming our way. Ritualized humiliation festivals are not my field, but daily life has its reality show moments. Most of us limit it to those toothpaste-on-the-lapel moments that seem not so bad until you wake at 2 a.m. and realize fellow diners might have thought it was something that was not toothpaste. But we avoid the major agonies, the ones where you have to smile through a spreading pool of dignity blood. Like that U.S. cable reality show combiningcompetitive eatingand extreme sports. It is called Hurl. We will neither watch nor appear on Hurl, we announce. In Japan, the equivalent declaration would be "I will not tie slabs of raw meat to my face, stick my head out of an onstage hole and try to be the last contestant standing before a ballistic Komodo dragon bites into my skull and dredges my thinker. I find this degrading." Esquire offered an online sampling of what they consider the most gnarly Japanese shows, but Esquire was too polite. They included the eating game where your face is on a bungee cord and marshmallows dance around your head. And they also chose the one where contestants attempt tongue-twisters. In our part of the world, you fail and you get that buzzer sound. There, they are whacked hard in the genitals by a slapping machine. Candid Camera, the toilet version The worst show is the Japanese version of Candid Camera. Perfectly nice people stroll along on a sunny day and decide to use a public toilet stall, like the ones we have in Canada for construction workers, but bigger and nicer. These unfortunate men are filmed inside the stall pulling down their pants and squatting on the toilet when suddenly the interior of the stall, toilet included, is hydraulically whisked up into public view. Some men freeze and attempt to blend in with the landscape, but the rest desperately try to get their pants back on, and you can imagine. They're lucky. Sometimes they pull out the floor and toilet horizontally on a Jet-Ski. But these horrified toilet-goers are naked from the waist down, clinging to a pole at high speed and then nearly drowned if they overturn while trying to dress, or perhaps kill, themselves
The 4th of july is less than 2 weeks away and it's crunch time in terms of training and preparation. Joey Chestnut is the king of hot dogs with Kobeyashi a close second. Last year, no doubt was left as to the champion of hot dogs and bun. Joey dominated, crushing the world record and forced kobeyashi to have multiple reversals. My memory is studded with a vivid recollection of the massive crowd, joeys overall dominance with conquest of mind over body, and a branded memory of joey en-robed in the stars and bars. The roar of those fans is not a sound I will forget.
To sum up my performance, I gave it my best shot, but fell flat on my ass. In a marathon I tripped on my shoe laces at the 20th mile and stopped to put Vaseline on my my nipples at the 22nd mile, only to limp/ waddle across the finish. I finished but not with the force and power I had visualized. I felt a surge of power and adrenaline all bottled up and a by product of the stadium size crowd. After 5 minutes the edge faded and the speed like effect once pumping through my arteries dissipated. To sum it up, my jaws got tired and I ran out of capacity.
Looking forward to 7/07/08 I am taking measures to overcome these barriers. It will be difficult to offset the jaw fatigue because nathans does not keep promises of awarding a year supply of hot dogs(for 2 years in a row). Besides this cheapness the realization occurred in that joey and kobey have both accomplished the holy grail of eating contests. Any past victory against either is bush league in comparison. No one will tout my victories over both in chicken wings and turkey as the reason I will win nathans. They don't mean much to me. This is a contest to hang your mustard belt and gastric band on. In that sense it's the last and eluding major victory that my career desperately needs to elevate it greatness. It's my thought that upon retirement I will be know as a good eater, but there is not much evidence to support the case that my legacy will be marked as a "great" eater.
I am a year behind them both in everything quite consistently. My style of eating is composed, reckless, and barbaric. Cooking and eating are my passionate traits, I am putting every ounce of passion, focus and strength into this competition. Joey can be beat, but it's going to take a perfect day with mind and body operating in maximum output mode. I will do everything from my steamer pack of tricks to prepare. I will have no regrets when all is left at the table(minus the dogs) meat sweats and all, and if another garlicky salchicha crammed down my esophagus is a human impossibility.
I can feel the excitement starting to build within and in all likely hood my abilities will be peaking on the 4th of july.
The dearly departed George Carlin wouldn't want a moment's silence in his honour. He'd want someone to crack a joke, maybe a beer and a joke.
So let's have a few laughs by recalling some of the great comic's funniest sports-related material. You remember the best of his biting commentaries, don't you? His take on the differences between baseball and football?
“Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park, a baseball park. Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium sometimes called Soldier Field and War Memorial Stadium … In baseball, they have the seventh-inning stretch. In football, it's the two-minute warning.”
Carlin took great delight in noting how football was all about violence, which was why teams had nicknames like the Raiders. “What about the victims? The Virginia Victims have the ball, first and 10.”
`Here are a few more of Carlin's sporting observations as found on the Internet as news of his death circulates:
“Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN Recently televised the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait, they're already doing that. It's called 'The Howard Stern Show.'
“If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keep sakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.
“Stop giving me that pop-up ad for classmates.com. There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because yu don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days - mowing my lawn.”
Rest in peace, George. We'll miss your wicked observations and your imaginative use of profanity, too.
After a rocky 21st birthday last year, Lambtown USA has re-emerged as a grown-up community festival.
It has regained its space at the Dixon Mayfair grounds, which means the return of sheepdog trials and the shearing competition, both of which were absent last year when the venue moved to Hall Park.
It has worked out the issues raised by the Health Department, which means guests should have little trouble sampling the results of the cooking competition.
And the accompanying Fiber Fair just keeps growing, with the addition of an angora rabbit show and demonstrations to a lineup that already includes wool, alpaca and mohair.
The festival also is expanding its focus on lamb by sponsoring Lamb rib eatingcontest.
Toss in the entertainment lineup and assorted vendors and contests, and visitors should find plenty to keep them busy from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 19.
In the 1980s, Lambtown was conceived as a community festival that celebrated Dixon's biggest claim to fame. The festival has had some growing pains through the years, but it always manages to get through them, probably because it never lost its focus. It is a festival run by the community, for the community.
Some residents volunteer their time to organize the various aspects of the fair. Others are called upon to demonstrate their skills, provide entertainment or compete in the contests. Even more are invited to attend, and while Lambtown draws people from outside the area, too, it is primarily a local
Last year, Lambtown needed some extra help to keep it going and found assistance through Dixon's City Council. This year, the festival appears to be standing on its own, ready to continue its traditions.
It was inevitable that someone would take the undeniably stupid but kind of cool sport of competitive eating and twist it into something completely revolting. That someone is Neal Tiles, the Take 2 Person of the Week.
Tiles is the president of the G4 television network. He is the one who gave the green light to “HURL!” The gameshow, which will debut July 15 on Tiles’ obscure cable outpost, is described as follows on G4’s Web site:
“ ‘HURL!’ participants are subjected to a series of challenges: Spiraling down a tunnel in a steel cage ball after eating mounds of Mac ’n Cheese … saddling up for a bucking, spinning, spew-inducing thrill ride on the mechanical bull after downing a passel of franks ’n beans … and much more! Last contestant to spew can win a cool grand plus bragging rights as ‘Iron Stomach Champion.’ ”
Safe to say that not many viewers will be flipping back and forth between this and “Charlie Rose.”
I’m not a prude about bodily-function humor, but stop the ride, I want to get off. Waiting eagerly to watch people vomit? If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t want to imagine what is.
It will be Neal Tiles’ legacy that he took America’s least-common denominators and made them even stupider than they were a half-hour before.
Loren 'Bubba' Yarbrough wished he could have eaten cleaner in the Georgia qualifier for the Nathan's July 4 hot dog eating contest.
Readying himself for the challenge, he joked that he tried to put Atlanta area buffet restaurants out of business, gobbling as much as 13 pounds of food in one sitting.
Yarbrough entered all kinds of food-eating contests, competing over jalapenos, chocolate and meatballs.
He even enlisted the help of a training partner, his best friend, Larry "the Legend" McNeil, a fellow Atlanta sewer plant manager from Newnan. The two ate together and plotted strategy in the days leading up to the contest.
Yarbrough, 35, said he also perfected his "power nibble" technique, eating frankfurters like Bugs Bunny powers through a carrot.
But all this training wasn't enough for a victory on Saturday. A Yankee took the state title. Pete "Pretty Boy" Davekos, a Bostonian who is ranked 25th by Major League Eating, beat a field of 14 other competitors by downing 19 1/4 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. Yarbrough said he should have been credited for 20, but a judge took away some of his total for the pile of gooey mush that accumulated before him on the table, leaving him with 18 1/2 eaten.
"I got robbed," Yarbrough insisted afterward. "I didn't come here to lose."
It was Yarbrough's fifth attempt at the state title, a regional qualifying event; the winner advances to the Nathan's Famous July 4 International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, N.Y.
Yarbrough and Davekos were neck and neck all the way through. Yarbrough shoveled hot dogs into his mouth three and four at a time, dunking the buns in water to make them easier to swallow.
Last year's state champion, Dale Boone of Buckhead, showed up to cheer Yarbrough on.
Davekos, meanwhile, pulled two hot dogs from their buns at a time, breaking them in half, slamming them into his mouth and then eating a single bun. When he started feeling full, he began eating hot dogs the traditional way.
With a mouth full of hot dogs and buns at the end of the competition, Davekos appeared as if he was going to vomit. His wife, Mia, urged him on, shouting: "It's all mental. Deep breaths!"
Davekos managed to keep it all in, claiming a green and gold trophy. Yarbrough walked over and patted Davekos on the back, later promising that he would return next year. He said he would perfect his swallowing technique and work on eating "cleaner."
"He's an awesome competitor," Davekos said of Yarbrough. "It could have gone either way."
Picnic Style Rules are rules that acknowledge the tradition, culture and heritage of a particular food item. Simply put “Picnic Style Rules” are rules of a contest that do not allow for the mutilation, desecration, improper destruction of a food item.
The Association of Independent Competitve Eaters (AICE) believes that eating a particular food item the way it was intended, is not only playing proper tribute to the culture and heritage of the food but also makes for a more interesting and easiier to follow contest. Over the years, many competitive eating fans have gasped in horror as they suffered the indignity of watching Eaters separate, dunk, mush and mash and perform other unmentionable “Picnic profanities.”
Fans, Eaters, sponsors and other concerned citizens have reinforced the need and importance of “Picnic Style Rules” to increase the entertainment value of competitive eating and to eliminate the tricky business connected to the massacre of food.
It is the goal of AICE to encourage the development picnic style rules in all eating contests.
Battle Creek’s Jake “The Butcher” Casey pushed eventual victor Joe Menchetti, “The Food Warrior,” into a new world record last year nearly out-eating the champion in the 2nd Annual World Reuben Eating Championship in Marshall. Now, Jake’s announced he’ll be back Saturday, July 19, when the Association of Competitive Eaters sends a team to the City of Hospitality to once again raise funds for the Fountain Clinic. The 3rd Annual World Reuben Eating Championship will be held from 2-4 p.m. on North Jefferson Street, in front of Pastrami Joe’s Deli, sponsor of the event. If Jake has improved as much from last year to this as he did between the first two events, he may just flat out-eat ALL the competition this year. Casey, who is an education major in college, seems to be a quick learner. And if last year’s any indication, he can be counted on to “school” his fellow competitors in the science of speed eating and mass consumption and may just take home the 2008 trophy. However, he’s going to have to watch out for more than Menchetti, who has dozens of eating titles to his name. Several other professional eaters will be in Marshall that day as well. Back for a third go-round in the Reuben competition will be Chris “The American” Schlesinger, presently the New York Hard Boiled Egg Eating Champion, who ate an amazing 10 hard-boiled eggs in just a minute and 16 seconds to gain that title. Schlesinger also has recorded victories for consuming potato latkes, milk and cookies, ribs, hot dogs, strawberries, and other delicacies too numerous to mention. Schlesinger has 11 top three finishes in National and World Eating Championships. Also gracing the stage at the July 19 Reuben event will be Tom “Goose” Gilbert, making his first appearance in Marshall. He is the current world record holder in Chicken Wings, as well as the National Canadian Back-Bacon Eating Champion. This 26-year-old counselor from the State of Massachusetts has smashed both the world record in meatballs and potato latkes and has consumed 46 hard-boiled eggs in five minutes to win the National Hard Boiled Egg Eating Championship in Brick, NJ. A Combat Medic in the Army Reserves, Gilbert has a disciplined style of eating that has earned him the honorary nickname, the “Green Beret of Grub.” Rounding out the professionals registered to date is Pierre “Food Machete” Vincelette from Canada who recently won a hamburger-eating contest in Ontario by downing a 2.5-lb. burger and an order of fries in 15:32 seconds. The day’s events will also include a Reuben Relay for kids as well as an amateur eating contest pitting various community rivals against each other. Anyone wanting to sign up may do so by contacting Michael Caron at P.J.’s for all the details.
Professionals, amateurs and kids participated Saturday, July 21, 2007, when Pastrami Joe’s Deli and the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters vied for championships in the 2nd Annual World Reuben Eating Contest in downtown Marshall. The eating was great to watch, but the overwhelming benefit of the day’s activities was that $5,600 was raised for Marshall’s Fountain Clinic, the free clinic dedicated to providing needed health care for those unable to pay for it. The proceeds from the contest were dedicated primarily to purchasing medications. Five professionals put their elbows on the table and downed a phenomenal number of sandwiches, led by Gentleman Joe Menchetti of Wallingford, CT, who barely broke a sweat as he set a new world record (six meat-filled delights) on his way to the win. Amateur honors went to Dale Greer of Marshall. Twenty-four amateurs competed in bright sunshine, including the Mayors of both Marshall and Albion, Bruce Smith and Bill Wheaton, and a cadre of police professionals from the State Police, Sheriff’s Department and Marshall Police Department. For the first time, a dozen children competed in the first annual Reuben Relay, constructing sandwiches from one end of an obstacle course to the other and drawing loud praise from the spectators gathered to watch. The 2008 competition is slated to be held Saturday, July 19, 2008, beginning at 2 p.m. Those who want to compete may obtain entry forms at Pastrami Joe’s on Jefferson Street in Marshall.
Palos Heights native Patrick Bertoletti is going to be on ESPN this Fourth of July, and he's preparing intently for his moment on national TV. He sizes up the physical and mental challenges facing him like Tiger Woods before a long drive.
But Bertoletti isn't a professional golfer, nor a baseball player or Olympic athlete. He's simply ranked No. 2 in the world in a new sport that demands nerves of steel and a cast-iron stomach: competitive eating.
Patrick Bertoletti goes to the finish with eating his 35th dozen of oysters, witnessed by judge Charles Stuart in the eight-minute time limit during the Acme World Oyster Eating Championship in New Orleans in April. (AP)
Professional eating is mostly known for the ESPN-televised Nathan's International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at Coney Island. But it's also growing around the country, including in Bertoletti's native Southland.
"There's some good talent out here in Chicago," said Arnie Chapman, the founder and chairman of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters (AICE), one of the two major competitive eating federations.
Set the table
Chapman sees this talent as largely unrealized. Bertoletti is the only big-name competitive eater from Chicago, and he said that the Chicago eating scene isn't as big as that in New York or Houston. He thinks that could change quickly, though. The weak scene is "just based on the lack of sponsorship here in Chicago," Bertoletti said.
Two men who are hoping to change that are Christopher and Dominic Bartolini, owners of Bartolini's restaurant in Midlothian. With sponsorship from companies such as Kohler (maker of toilets "tough enough for big eaters") the Bartolini brothers have established a meatball eating contest now in its third year.
"Some places do candlelight bowls," Christopher Bartolini said. "We do meatball eating contests." The brothers hope to make their contest "the meatball eating competition of the world" and to raise the profile of competitive eating in the Southland.
Last year, the meatball eating contest packed 350 people into Bartolini's, prompting them to move to St. Christopher Church. The contest has a $3,000 grand prize - with a $1,000 bonus for any amateur who can beat the professional eaters to win.
Bring your appetite
Competitive eating can look daunting, particularly when watching professionals such as Bertoletti and past Nathan's champions Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi wolf down 50 or more hot dogs in 12 minutes. In order to do those feats, though, professionals train their bodies and minds as hard as baseball or football players.
"You have to slowly inch your body so you can consume more and more over time," said Bertoletti, who belongs to the second, larger competitive eating organization, the International Federation of Competitive Eating. To prepare for this year's hot dog eating contest, Bertoletti will also try eating smaller quantities as quickly as possible in order to improve his speed and eating technique. At the highest levels of competitive eating, Bertoletti said, you have to push your body past "your breaking point, your maximum capacity."
It's this kind of training that has drawn some criticism to competitive eating. Medical professionals have warned that extended periods of binge eating could possibly lead to medical problems. And Chicago nutritionist Jennifer Vimbor said that binge eating too often wouldn't be healthy.
"These people tend to take in thousands of calories at one time, thousands more than they actually need," Vimbor said.
Because competitive eating competitions often involve unhealthy food such as hot dogs and desserts, Vimbor said regular competitive eaters "may have higher risk of heart disease, cancers and gastrointestinal disorders."
Bertoletti disagreed with the notion that competitive eating was automatically unhealthy. He pointed out that most of the really successful competitive eaters are fit, not overweight. However, Bertoletti acknowledged that binge eating too frequently could be unhealthy.
"I don't see any problem with (competitive eating) - as long as you balance it with a good diet," Bertoletti said.
Clear the table
But competitive eating involves more than just these intense contests. At its heart, competitive eating descends from things such as county fair pie eating contests, and there's still a big role for amateurs.
"One good thing about competitive eating is that it's a way for someone to get publicity and recognition without a ton of equipment," Chapman said. "You just bring yourself and your appetite."
That amateur spirit is what the Bartolini brothers hope to capture with their meatball-eating contest. Anyone can try out for the contest (by devouring a pound and a half of meatballs as quickly as possible)- even those who have never eaten before, like Mark Huguelet, 33, of Midlothian.
"I've seen the past few years of meatball-eating competitions and kind of wanted to try it once," Huguelet said. He finished his meatball plate in 3:45 and thinks he can do better next time. Despite having never done competitive eating before, Huguelet was impressed by the openness of the contest. "It gives everyone an equal shot at going through," Huguelet said.
The Bartolini's meatball contest is the only major sanctioned competitive eating contest in the Southland at the moment, but just about everyone seems to think that eating in Chicago has room to grow.
"Chicago has a lot of untapped talent for food warriors," said Chapman. "Guys from Chicago like to have a lot of fun. It's a great match for (competitive eating)."
But frankly speaking, there was nothing breezy about Texas' qualifying round for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Plano on Saturday.
"Nasty" Nathan Biller had hot dog debris hanging from his eyebrows and lashes. His cheeks billowed with each bite. He clamped a hand over stretched lips to force another swallow. His eyes squeezed shut in agony.
Next to him, Kevin Ross gobbled two wieners at a time. His fingers were stained the shade of the fruit punch he used as dipping sauce. He kept a strong pace. But then his face grew pale, and his mind went dizzy.
"You need experience to learn how to not get really nauseous," said Mr. Ross, a Southern California native.
The 26-year-old, who is normally a vegetarian, has sucked down raw oysters, blueberry pies, french fries and deep-fried asparagus in previous eating contests.
"I think hot dogs are the hardest," Mr. Ross said.
He started Saturday's match with an empty gut.
Chris Floyd, a former Plano resident and the crowd favorite, snacked on cantaloupe for breakfast. Dinner the night before was green beans and a biscuit.
"I drink lots of water," Mr. Floyd said. "It helps stretch the stomach and keep the system clean."
Mr. Floyd now lives in Austin, where he works as a hospital administrator.
His pre-contest regimen included eating 15 hot dogs in one sitting several times a week.
He has been top dog in four other eating contests. Saturday's winner will go to the championship at Coney Island, N.Y.
"This is my first chance at the big stage," Mr. Floyd said as he mapped his strategy. "I'm going to start off fast and go as fast and as long as I can and push strong in the final minutes."
Before the battle, runners stacked five HDBs – competitive-eating lingo for "hot dogs in buns" – on each plate. Each participant had two plates to start and water to help smooth the way down.
Personal condiments and beverages were allowed in the 10-minute race.
One stout fellow calmly striped each dog with his own honey mustard and dined at a leisurely pace.
Others tore the wieners in half and crammed water-soaked segments into their gullets.
Mr. Biller's plan was to consume two dogs a minute.
He recently moved from Wichita Falls to Queens, N.Y., but felt compelled to return to his home state for the showdown.
He thinks it helped to be stationed next to his toughest adversary, Mr. Ross.
"I was watching him most of the time," Mr. Biller said. "I was doing good, but I kind of felt like I hit a wall right there at the end."
Still, Mr. Biller shoveled in an entire dog in two seconds as the 10-second countdown wound down.
Each man had to finish swallowing before the tally was taken.
Mr. Floyd tied for fourth place with 15 dogs consumed. A Florida man placed third after gobbling 17 franks.
Mr. Biller and Mr. Ross were tied with 20 hot dogs each.
Then came the brutal part: a two-minute eat-off. Fresh plates of franks were stacked in front of the men. Overstretched stomachs would have to endure more.
Mr. Ross felt woozy but wasn't backing down. He plowed through two wieners and stuffed in two more.
But when time was called, Mr. Ross realized he was still one dog down. He pulled a slimy pink mass from his mouth, spit out some more and walked away.
The crowd groaned in disgust.
"I feel awful," Mr. Ross said after the duel. "I ate more than I've ever eaten before. I feel really disoriented."
Mr. Biller was in pain but glowing with victory.
"It feels great to win," he said.
His goal was to keep the 25 wieners down for the rest of the day.
"If you allow it to come back up, it trains your body to react that way during a contest," he said. "I've been lucky so far."
Watching from the crowd, Melissa Miles of Dallas shuddered.
"I highly doubt I'll ever eat another hot dog again," she said.
AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) -- Austinites and other Texans are invited to help eat 1500 veggie dogs and 14 gallons of vegan ice cream today at the 2nd annual Veggie Dog Eating Contest which is being held at Scholz Garden at 1607 San Jacinto from 1 to 4 p.m. The annual Veggie Dog Eating Contest was created by IloveMikeLitt, a local social group that puts together various artistic and cultural events, after a random conversation with The Hot Dog King, a local vendor who sells hot dogs on Red River Street. Individuals can compete as solo competitors or as part of teams of two in the doubles category. Prizes from local businesses and national vegetarian-friendly companies will be awarded to the teams and persons eating the most veggie dogs in 12 minutes. A $5 cover includes a free Smart Dogs veggie dog and all-you-can eat NadaMoo ice cream until supplies run out. The event this year is being co-hosted by Deb O'Keefe from the MorningX on FM 101.5, and Chris Trew, co-founder of ColdTowne Theater. Deb and Chris are both vegetarians and are eager to join in. Other special guests include the local "plant-powered" firefighters and Laurel Elm, a life-long 9 year old vegan. Contestants this year include last year's solo competitor champion, Colin "the Tim Duncan of competitive eating" Kalmbacher. Colin, a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and vegan for six years says, "What is more Austin than a bunch of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores, all alongside each other, gorging themselves on hundreds of soy dogs for the sheer insanity of it?" For more information go to www.ilovemikelitt.com.
Apple Ugly eating competition coming to Faith Saturday, June 21, 2008 12:32 AM By Mark Wineka email@example.com Dale Boone, the "Mouth of the South" in competitive eating, has eaten his share of weird things. Crocodile eggs. Pigs feet. Russian dumplings. Reindeer sausage. Next up on that list will be Salisbury's own Apple Uglies. Boone, a holder of 21 competitive eating records in the United States and Asia, will be trying to set the bar high when he participates in the Faith Fourth of July Celebration's first Apple Ugly eating contest. "Trust me," Boone said in a telephone interview Friday from Atlanta, "I will come ready to set you a nice number." Boone, 40, will be vying with others for cash prizes (first, second and third), along with a trophy, a case of Uglies and the automatic world record for Apple Ugly-eating to the winner. "My training will start tomorrow," for the July 4 final, Boone said. He actually will compete in two eating contests that day. The Faith Fourth final is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. July 4 (after a June 30 qualifier), but Boone also will be downing hot dogs in a contest near Johnson City Tenn., earlier in the day. Apple Baking Co. of Salisbury makes the tasty Apple Ugly, a 4-ounce, 440-calorie pastry that's the company's signature product. It's difficult to say what the winning Apple Ugly number will be over 10 minutes, Boone acknowledges. He has eaten an Ugly in the past and thinks a competitive eating contest with Uglies will be similar to a cannoli-eating contest in New York that he once participated in. For cannoli, he said, 23 to 26 is a world-class number. The 300-pound Boone has been competitive eating since 2000 and he has made it his full-time profession. For the past three years, he has spent eight to nine months a year competitive eating in Asia. He rents an apartment in India and uses that country as his base in going to places such as Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam. Thailand is where he ate crocodile eggs — 10 of them. Each egg was the size of a good Florida grapefruit, he said. He allowed his contract to run out with the International Federation of Competitive Eating and now belongs to the World League of Competitive Eating, which he considers a step up because of all the international competition. He compares many of the eating contests in Asia to being part of a miniature Olympics. Plus, he enjoys the international travel. Over the past five years on July 4, Boone has participated in the well-publicized hot dog -eating contest on Coney Island, N.Y. But with his IFOCE contract expired, he now has opportunities to more events such as the Apple Ugly contest while he's home in the United States. Over the past three weeks, he has been in five competitive eating contests and won all five, he said. He recently has been "taking off" to give his stomach and overall digestive system time to rest, so he can train for the two events in one day July 4. As a competitive eater, Boone said, he has learned how his body functions and what minerals, chemicals, carbohydrates and proteins to eat or stay away from. He follows a specific diet regimen leading up to an event. Boone has become somewhat of a celebrity in competitive eating circles. He and others have been on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, CNN, ESPN and three Discovery Channel documentaries. He said his 25th high school reunion is coming up, and he has received 200 hits on classmates.com because of his eating exploits. "All of them saw me eating a hot dog on ESPN," he said. Some of the eating records he is proudest of include his pelemeni (Russian dumplings) mark of 274 in six minutes. He also likes his record of 84 ounces of pork and beans in 1 minute, 52 seconds. That contest was sponsored by 84 Lumber. Boone also set a record by eating 28 Glacier Brewhouse Reindeer Sausage in 10 minutes. His favorite food? Pizza. He said he was the first competitive eater to go solo on a 28-inch pizza. Boone learned about the Apple Ugly contest through a Google Alert, which informs him of many of the events being scheduled. Apple Baking Co. hopes to make the Apple Ugly eating contest a sanctioned event in the future. Qualifiers will be held at 8:30 p.m. June 30, followed by the finals at 8:30 p.m. July 4. For contest entry forms and rules, visit the company's Web site at www.applebaking.com or pick up a registration form at the Apple Baking headquarters off Woodleaf Road, at The Pop Shoppe on East Innes Street near Interstate 85 or at Gary's Barbecue in China Grove. Completed registration forms should go to Miller Davis Inc., to the attention of Hilah Teague, 118 N. Main St., Suite 200, Salisbury, NC 28144, fax 704-637-5365, or by e-mail at hilaht@millerdavisagency. com. .
For Newnan's Loren "Bubba" Yarbrough, a win today will clinch a spot at the Super Bowl -- the Super Bowl of competitive eating, that is.
Yarbrough competes at Lenox Square Mall at 1 p.m. in the Georgia Hot Dog-Eating Championship, a preliminary to Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, N.Y. Joining him at the table will be fellow Newnan resident and competitive eater Larry "Legend" McNeil.
"It's the Super Bowl of eating, as big as it gets," Yarbrough said of the well-known Nathan's contest. The annual competition is aired on ESPN, down to the coveted "Yellow Mustard Belt" and the $20,000 check given to each year's winner.
Eating giant Takeru Kobayashi of Japan -- who, at a mere 160 pounds, looks nothing like the chow-champion that he is -- was denied his seventh straight Nathan's victory last year by American eater Joey Chestnut. Chestnut downed 66 Nathan's Famous dogs -- buns and all -- in the designated 12 minutes to bring the Yellow Mustard Belt back stateside.
The 12-minute time limit has been cut down to 10 minutes this year.
The change gives Yarbrough some strategic advantage. He may not be able to eat as many as some other competitors in the extended time limit, but he has speed on his side.
Eating a Nathan's Famous Hot Dog is no easy feat. For those familiar with the dogs -- their origin traceable to a nickel hot dog stand at Coney Island in 1916 -- Nathan's hot dogs are not your average wieners.
"There's an audible snap when you bite into one," Yarbrough said.
The thick sausage and spiced meat is wrapped in a thick casing.
"After about 10, the spices and the thickness get to you," he added.
Yarbrough's personal record is set at 20. If he can outdo that, a victory today may be within reach.
According to Yarbrough, the trick is to "build a rhythm."
He prefers Kobayashi's style, which involves snatching a dog from the bun; "Solomon-ing" it -- think of the Bible's King Solomon advising that the squabbling mothers divide the infant in half -- shoving both dog halves in his mouth with a quick-biting, typewriter-like efficiency while simultaneously "dunking" the bun; shoving the doused bun in behind the dogs; and once they're down the hatch, all of it goes in one big swallow.
His training regimen for such an event isn't as gruesome as some may picture. Like other competitive eaters, Yarbrough builds up his stomach's stretch-ability as a competition approaches. He opts for low-calorie solutions. Every day this week, he's eaten his lunch, set the timer on his watch, and done his best to guzzle a gallon of water in less than a minute.
He and McNeil also train with filling -- high-water foods like watermelon. Occasional trips to local buffets are on the agenda as well, just to keep them conditioned.
Contrary to popular belief, most competitive eaters do not immediately relieve their achingly-full bellies by regurgitating their food following a competition.
"I try not to," Yarbrough said. "The goal is to hold it down as long as possible."
Throwing up afterwards develops a habit that can recur any time the stomach feels engorged, and if a competitor throws up during a match, he or she is "DQ-ed," or disqualified.
The pals, both Atlanta city employees, entered the competitive eating scene in 2005. Members of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, McNeil and Yarbrough enjoy the extra money that comes with wins.
"We like it," Yarbrough said. "It's something fun to do."
The two have competitively eaten pizza, Krystal burgers, pulled pork, ribs, meatballs, key lime pie, chili-cheese fries and bratwurst, to name a few.
In the past couple of years, Yarbrough has slowed down a bit, entering only four to five competitions each year rather than 15 to 20. The cutback hasn't slowed him down. In February, Yarbrough shattered a Guinness Book record by downing 20, 3-inch jalapenos -- an inch and a quarter at their thickest part -- in less than 30 seconds. The minute-long contest was cut off at 27 seconds, the previous record having been 16 eaten in the full allotted time.
Yarbrough, who had requested more than the 20 peppers in front of him before the contest began, says he could have kept going. He was awarded a $500 for his win
I have seen the future of reality TV, and it is Hurl! You may have already heard of this show, which debuts on G4 July 15: Contestants gorge themselves, competitive eating-style, and then are placed on devices such as a mechanicaofficially postpones Second Coming.)l bull to see who will throw up last. (Christ shakes head sadly,
Representing an entirely new type of competition, Hurl! combines speed eating with intense physical challenges, all designed to shake up the competitors ... it's an eating competition with an extreme sports chaser! Sure, sure, sure ... publicly you'll criticize it; out loud you'll deny watching it ... but privately, you know you'll watch every minute. So, just relax, let go and hurl!
In other words: "Look, we know we're totally pulling this one out of our ass. But our research indicates that you'll watch anything, and since there's never anyone over the age of 24 at our staff meetings anyway, we decided to go with it. Now who's got the
I have covered them, and they can get pretty disgusting.
However, I cannot deny they are also quite entertaining.
I am always amazed how fast folks can eat, especially when I see petite women, such as Juliet Lee (last year), eat four Johnny Rockets hot dogs in one minute and 18 seconds. Lee weighed a mere 105 pounds and stood only 5 feet, 4 inches.
At noon Saturday at Hard Rock Park, there will be a Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier.
The winner will get the title of S.C. Hot Dog Eating Champion and compete in the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, N.Y., on July 4, according to Ryan Nerz, the master of ceremonies for Saturday's event.
Nerz, the author of "Eat This Book: A Year of Gorging and Glory on the Competitive Eating Circuit," told last year's crowd at Broadway at the Beach they were watching "athleticism and physical poetry in motion."
This week's competitors will include Allen "Shredder" Goldstein (ranked No. 15) from Plainview, N.Y., and Richard Foley (ranked No. 49), a Bluffton native.
They are among the folks known as "gurgitators" within the International Federation of Competitive Eaters.
The Nathan's Famous 2008 qualifying contest will be in more than 12 cities.
The BBC has bought the rights to a low-brow Japanese game show, which uses a moving wall to ditch contestants in a pool of water in the corporation's latest effort to bring fresh ideas to its audiences.
The BBC will screen the pratfalls and celebrity humiliations of certain segments of Tunnelsno minnasan no okage deshita in September. The show has prevailed spectacularly in a television environment where custard pies, eating contests and buckets of maggots remain essential props.
The Tunnels show, which features an ever-changing cavalcade of ridiculous games and gut-churning pranks, is the prime-time jewel in the crown of Tokyo’s largest television station.
Now in its eleventh year, watched by millions and decried by a noted Japanese television critic as “deeply compelling rubbish”, the Tunnels show lurches from feature to feature in an hour of variety.
That variety includes a segment where a large mechanical wall with a shape cut out of it advances menacingly on a celebrity. Unless the victim is able to contort into precisely the right pose to pass through the wall, he or she is shoved into a pool of water.
It is this hole-in-the-wall game feature that appealed so strongly to the BBC, say Fuji Television executives, who have finally managed to sell the concept to the British after successfully pitching the idea to the Russians and Koreans last year. The BBC is understood to have produced 11 episodes of a new show that echoes its Japanese counterpart and incorporates the wall game.
The BBC, like other foreign media buyers that have dabbled in Japanese television concepts, has not bought the rights to everything on the Tunnels show. Japanese television remains a preserve of sexism, ageism, exploitation and bullying that continue to astonish most foreigners exposed to it. “Major foreign TV broadcasters rarely use programmes produced in Japan in their entirety,” admitted a Fuji TV official.
The BBC’s deal comes at a time when even long-term enthusiasts of Japanese television are agreed that standards are daily plumbing new depths. “Just when you think Japanese television is not going to go any sicker or lower,” says WM Penn, a television critic for the Yomiuri newspaper, “it goes one sicker and lower.”
After years of insularity and pure domestic focus, however, Fuji Television is growing to realise the international commercial value that its vast menu of low-brow entertainment commands. In 2004 it sold a cooking contest idea to the US, which became marketed as the iron chefs
Don ''Moses'' Lerman Gets All Top Teeth Extracted, Next Step dental Implants,
Partial Dentures officially go on Sale today
3 partials available 1 .orignal worn in contests from 2000 to eats of strength 2. the one worn in eats of strength. 3. flipper .....asking $1,OOO each. Will entertain offers pay at pay pal at Moses Store
Most people would find the steaming plate of meatballs from Bartolini's restaurant in Midlothian an appealing and hearty meal.
For Mark Huguelet, 33, of Midlothian, and Chris Sanders, 37, of Richton Park, the dozen sauce-covered meatballs also were a challenge: How quickly could they devour the pound and a half of beef?
Both men were taking a step into the wild world of competitive eating, where contestants try to eat as much as possible as quickly as possible.
There is a formal International Federation of Competitive Eating and dozens of professional "gesticators" who earn a living by entering eating competitions. There even are competitive eating celebrities, such as Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut, who went head-to-head in the ESPN-televised Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest the past several years.
This "sport" is alive and well in the Southland, most notably at Bartolini's in Midlothian. On July 18, the restaurant will hold its third annual American Meatball Eating Championship, an event that brothers Christopher and Dominic Bartolini hope will become "the meatball eating competition of the world."
In order to compete in the big event, which has a $3,000 grand prize - plus a $1,000 bonus if an amateur wins - one first must qualify by calling the restaurant and by eating a dozen 2-ounce meatballs in less than four minutes. That's what Huguelet and Sanders were trying to do Thursday afternoon.
"I've seen the past few years of meatball-eating competitions and kind of wanted to try it once," said Huguelet, a Bartolini's regular who Christopher Bartolini said has been known to eat an entire large deep dish pizza himself.
For the competition, Huguelet and Sanders sat down in front of the meatballs, surrounded by onlookers and timed by Christopher Bartolini.
As they sat down, Dominic gave them advice: Successful eaters "ate, chewed and drank (water) at the same time. ... It helps push it down."
With the stopwatch running, Huguelet and Sanders left knives and forks lying on the table in favor of their hands, opting to pick up the sauce-covered meatballs by hand. Sanders popped whole meatballs in his mouth, while Huguelet opted for smaller bites.
Sanders soon fell behind and after four meatballs could not eat any more.
"You've gotta be prepared" for speed eating, Sanders said afterward. He had decided to do the competition only that day and had eaten breakfast.
"I was already full when I walked through the door," he said.
Huguelet, with an empty stomach, had better luck and plowed relentlessly through the meatballs. He had eaten seven at the two-minute mark and kept up that steady pace to finish off the last scraps in 3:45.
"It's amazing how some of these guys can just pound that stuff down," Huguelet said of competitive eaters such as Kobayashi and Chestnut. "It was my first time doing it. ... I was basically just trying to keep it down."
His mark of 3:45 is good enough to qualify for this year's formal competition and a shot at $4,000 in prize money.
The competition will be held under the auspices of the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters of New York, which will be bringing in three "professional eaters" to take a shot at the Bartolini brothers' meatballs.
The $20 entrance fees go entirely to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul and St. Steven's food pantries.
want to try YOUR LUCK?
To enter the American Meatball Eating Championship, contact Christopher or Dominic Bartolini at (708) 396-2333.
WIENERS & LOSERS:Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut.WIENERS & LOSERS:Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut.By ANDREA PEYSERJune 16, 2008 --AN UPROAR has gripped the World Cup of gluttony - and it's enough to induce one to upchuck. Or, in the parlance of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, spark a "reversal of fortune."The folks who run Nathan's annual July 4 hot-dog eating contest in Coney Island - where the nastiest eaters on the planet have for decades shoved dozens of tube steaks down their gullets - have trimmed the eating time from 12 minutes to 10.To understand the enormity of the change, imagine running a 31/2-minute mile in a minute and a half. Or stuffing down 66 all-beef frankfurters, complete with buns, as reigning champ Joey Chestnut did last year, in 600 seconds rather than 720.George Shea, of Major League Eating, which runs the show, said it's about preserving history. Recently unearthed notes, apparently scribbled in 1917, the contest's second year, referred to the bout lasting 10 minutes. MLE also found a 1986 New York Times story in which the winner ate 15½ dogs in 10 minutes.But these days, top competitors are guaranteed sponsorships of at least $25,000. One of these is the slim, six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi, 28, of Japan, who was out-eaten last year by the California-trained Chestnut, 23. Now comes the rematch. But can either eat more than 66 dogs in 10 minutes?The Brooklyn Paper, which broke the story of the time change, sensed a conspiracy. During his losing effort last year, Kobayashi appeared to vomit. Could this be a move to keep his upchuck out of sight?Conspiracy? Nonsense! said Shea - who calls releases of effluvia "reversals of fortune.""We thought this was the right thing to do," he said. "Does this impact the most hotly contested rivalry since Ali-Frazier?"Stay tuned, firstname.lastname@example.org
DON LERMAN'S PARTIAL DENTURES GO ON SALE 6/ 18/08 USE PAYPAL AT THE MOSES STORE ASKING $1,000 PER PARTIAL WILL ACCEPT OFFERS A. PARTIAL WORN ON EATS OF STRENGTH B .ORGINAL PARTIAL ( used in contests from 2000-eats of strength) c. FLIPPER
PAT BERTOLETTI WINS TODAY PAT BERTOLETTI EATS14LBS OF STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE,I CREATED THE MONSTER. I WAS ON ROUTE TO KNOXVILLE FOR THE KRYSTAL QUALIFIER , I KNEW I WAS GOING AGAINST BERTOLETTI AND HAD MADE A BIG DEAL OF IT ON MY SITE .EVERY DAY FOR A WEEK I KNOCKED HIM ON MY SITE SETTING THE STAGE FOR A MATCH BETWEEN THE OLD SCHOOL EATERS AND THE NEW EATERS , ON ROUTE TO KNOXVILLE THE PLANE MADE A STOP AT WASHINGTON NATIONAL AIRPORT . I SAW PAT AND INTRODUCED MYSELF TO HIM. BERTOLETTI WENT TO SLEEP ON THE COUCH IN THE WAITING ROOM, AS THEY ANNOUNCED ALL ABOARD, I SAW THAT HE WAS STILL SLEEPING AND DIDN'T HEAR THE ANNOUCMENT. I SAID SHOULD I WAKE HIM UP , WHY NOT, I DID AND HE WENT ON TO BEAT ME IN THE KRYSTAL CONTEST IT WAS THE START OF HIS CAREER, HAD I NOT WOKE HIM UP PERHAPS I WOULD STILL BE EATING TODAY, IN RETROSPECT I SHOULD HAVE NOT WOKE HIM UP .. *A REPEAT STORY
GUSTOFF ZHYCHICK UNDER WENT A COLOSTOMY REVERSAL YESTERDAY AND COLLAPSED . ZHYCHICK WAS AWAKE TO TELL ALL HIS FANS THAT HE WANTS THEIR HOPES AND PRAYERS TO GO TO DON LERMAN AND IN HIS QUEST TO RETURN TO THE COMPETITIVE EATING TABLE ONCE MORE. ZHYCHICK WENT ON TO SAY DON'T WORRY I'LL BE ALL RIGHT IN TIME TO WATCH THE NATHANS CONTESTS...END
Published: Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 8:00 a.m. Last Modified: Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 11:12 p.m.
HOUMA -- An orthopedic spine surgeon from Tennessee gobbled away a local man’s shot at competing in a world-famous hotdog-eating contest, but James Howell isn’t ready to throw in his napkin.
"It’s one of those things I can’t believe I did it," Howell said. "I would do it again."
Howell gulped down 10 hot dogs in 10 minutes, placing him near the middle of the pack in a regional qualifier for the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, he said.
The regional qualifier, held June 7 at Sam’s Club in Metairie, pitted the Bayou Blue resident against 14 other competitors from across the country.
Juris "Dr. Bigtime" Shibayama gobbled 28 hot dogs in 10 minutes to finish first in the Metairie qualifier, earning the surgeon a trip to Coney Island, N.Y., for the televised contest.
"He was nice. He was like just an ordinary person," Howell said of Shibayama, who is an experienced competitive eater.
Howell, 40, said he is satisfied with his effort, especially since the contestant to his left ate just five hot dogs, and the contestant to his right ate 10 or 11 but got disqualified "because he hurled them."
Howell said his regular hotdog-eating practice sessions helped, but he was surprised to find the hot dogs at the contest were much larger than those he had been using for training.
The truck driver said his favorite part of the contest came in the introduction of the contestants.
"You get to run up on stage and act crazy," he said.
Howell also has garnered some notoriety at Big Eddie’s Café in Bayou Blue, which served as his informal training site. People now recognize Howell as "the hot dog man;" one customer even photographed Howell posing with a tray of 16 hot dogs and gave him a framed copy of the picture.
With one contest under his belt, Howell said he’s looking for more. Next up could be a Krsytal burger-eating contest or a grits-eating contest, he said.
VH1's new zombie reality TV show, America's Next Top Zombie Idol, could introduce the world to steamy hot tub zombie make outs, backstabbing undead confessionals about racist zombie roommate, zombies getting in fights at bars, and competitive brain eating. The show's premise is simple: "Eight zombies live together and compete for the winning spot in a reality TV competition."
Since I'm pretty sure that zombies don't exist yet, the show will most likely be fake (most likely) although it will probably make more sense than The Mole. America's Zombie is paired with VH1's new reality horror show, Scream Queens. The pilot for the show will begin shooting in June this year. Let's hope it's a success so we can find out what happens when zombies stop being polite and start eating brains.
Deal one of many ways to enjoy Dodgers games on a budget
By Michael Schwartz / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- What could be better than catching a Dodgers game in right field while eating a Dodger Dog, peanuts, popcorn and nachos, and enjoying a cold soft drink or water?
Answer: Catching a Dodgers game and eating all the Dodger Dogs, peanuts, popcorn and nachos and drinking all the soft drinks and water you want while sitting in the ampm All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion in right field -- and doing it on a Super Saver Night for just $25 when purchased in advance, or $30 on game day.
"I just think it's a great deal, great value, we've got a lot of positive feedback from people," said Steve Shiffman, the Dodgers' vice president for ticket sales. "Really, I've never had any negative feedback."
The all-you-can-eat menu opens when fans can start entering the stadium 1 1/2 hours before game time and ends two hours after the game starts. Fans can get up to four hot dogs per person each time they go up to the concession stands, with beer, ice cream and candy are also available for purchase.
Shiffman said it's perfect for a father of three like himself. When he takes his children to a game he's constantly peppered with requests for hot dogs and water, and then right when he returns, he often finds another child will want him to get something else.
The next thing Shiffman knows he's spent $50.
"Here it's just like, let's go up, get here a couple of minutes before the game starts, let's get everything and let's just get to the seats," Shiffman said. "If you don't want your nachos, save them for later. Eat your hot dog now while it's hot, drink your soft drink."
Shiffman also sees the section as a great place to take a client, especially for fans who don't have the money to buy dugout seats.
"You don't have to reach into your pocket every time you or your customer or your guest or your kids want something," Shiffman said. "Even for business, think about it ... it's a great deal. This way they don't have to reach into their pocket. They can get fed, watch the game and have a great time and go home and feel full and not reach into their pocket."
One more advantage is that the lines move much quicker than they do in the rest of the stadium because the food is pre-prepared and no money needs to be transferred. Fans also serve themselves to fountain drinks instead of being handed soda cans, which has helped speed up the flow as well, Shiffman said.
"The nice thing, too, is that those lines being so quick because everything's prepared so you can get hot dogs and nachos whenever you want, you just get it and then you walk away," he said. "So you really don't miss too much of the play."
The Dodgers started experimenting with this concept two years ago and implemented it for the first time last season. Shiffman got the idea after following the team to St. Louis to check out Busch Stadium, where he said the Cardinals have had great success with pricey, all-inclusive deals that include beer.
He then took the concept and tailored it to something he felt would work better with Los Angeles fans, a system he said the Dodgers are "kind of the innovators of."
The fans have responded well -- Shiffman said the approximately 3,000-seat section was at about 80 percent capacity last season, and sold out 17 times.
The only criticism he's found of the concept came from an article in a health publication chiding such all-you-can-eat ventures for their unhealthiness, which Shiffman finds unwarranted.
"You can't blame the product, you have to believe the people have enough restraint to eat healthy and eat smart," he said. "Come to a game, have a hot dog, a Diet Coke, some peanuts. Is it the greatest health food for you? No, but it's ballpark food. Are they going to eat it every night? No, because they don't come every night. If they come twice a month or two times a month I think it's great."
Besides Super Saver Nights in the ampm All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion, Dodger Stadium offers many other great deals.
* The Coca-Cola Family Pack provides families with four tickets, four Dodger Dogs and four Cokes for as little as $70 on select Wednesday and Sunday home games.
* The Bank of America Weekend Supersaver is a mini-plan that provides fans with a 50-percent discount on Field Box or Infield Reserve Seats for eight weekend games.
* The Costco promotion offers fans two field box seats and two copies of Dodgers Magazine for $54, a $130 value.
* The Dodgers' E-Savers regularly offer fans who sign up at dodgers.com a ticket discount as large as 70 percent on select games.
* More than 26,000 of the seats at Dodger Stadium (46 percent) are priced at $20 or less if purchased in advance of the day of game.
* Kids can purchase tickets for just $7 in the Top Deck or Left Field Pavilion on the day of a game.
* First-time groups can receive up to 50 percent off most games in many areas of Dodger Stadium, while second-time groups will receive an offer for up to 70 percent off most home games.
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Sonya Thomas at Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
SONYA THOMAS is petite and lithe, but her stomach can hold 18 pounds of food. Currently ranked sixth-best eater in the world, Thomas will compete this July 4th in Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the Super Bowl of stuffing oneself, where she'll try to beat her personal best and down 40 dogs and buns in 12 minutes. We had a few questions for the binge queen:
MC: How did you get your start in competitive eating?
ST: I always knew I could eat more than most people. Then I saw the Nathan's contest on ESPN, and I found out that to compete, you have to win a qualifying contest. I won in New Jersey and went to Nathan's later that year.
MC: How do you prepare?
ST: I don't eat breakfast or lunch, but I eat the same dinner every night: fries, chicken fingers, and a grilled chicken sandwich. The day before a competition, I'll have a salad.
MC: You're not a cheap date.
ST: I may have eaten 522 oysters in a sitting, but I don't need to eat that much all the time! Still, the best place for a date to take me would be an all-you-can-eat buffet. If we went to a French restaurant, it could cost hundreds of dollars before I was finally full.
MC: So where does it all go?
ST: I don't know. Most people think that 300-pound guys can eat the most food, but more often it's skinny people.
MONTERREY, Mexico (June 10) - Manuel Uribe, who once weighed a half ton but has slimmed down to about 700 pounds, celebrates his 43rd birthday on Wednesday with a simple wish for the coming year: to be able to stand on his own two feet to get married.
Interviewed at his home in northern Mexico, where he can still do little more than sit up on a bed, Uribe said more than two years of steady dieting have helped him drop about 550 pounds from his Guinness record weight of 1,235 pounds.
'We Are in Love'
Monica Rueda, AP
Manuel Uribe, who weighs 700 pounds and can do little more than sit on his bed, hopes to walk his fiancee, Claudia Solis, down the aisle when they get married.
1 of 8PHOTOS
He hopes Guinness representatives will confirm in July that he holds a second title: The world's greatest loser of weight.
But Uribe is still unable to walk his fiancee, Claudia Solis, down the aisle.
"It frustrates me a little, because it is not easy to get out," said Uribe, who has not been able to leave bed for the last six years.
His most recent attempt to escape the house - to attend Solis' 38th birthday party in March - fell through when a flatbed tow truck brought to transport his reinforced bed got caught beneath an underpass.
But Uribe vowed not to be deterred: "We are in love, and this year my birthday wish is to be able to stand when we get married," he said.
Uribe said he met Solis, a 38-year-old hairdresser, four years ago. They have been together for the last two.
"We are a couple," Uribe said. "We have sex, and in the eyes of God we are already married."
Proudly showing off her sparkling engagement ring, Solis said life with a heavyweight is not always easy.
"I bathe him every day, and we get along very well," she said. "At times, yes, people say things ... that it's a fake relationship, but what we have is real."
Solis said her family initially opposed the match with Uribe, because her first husband, who was also obese, died of respiratory failure.
"They were worried about me being involved with another fat man, because they thought another husband would die on me," she said.
Uribe, a former auto parts dealer, said his birthday party Wednesday will be a low-key dinner with the family.
"We were going to go out, but the last time out scared me so much," he said. "When we crashed into the lighting conduits on the underpass, I thought we were going to get an electric shock."
Uribe said his weight problem spiraled out of control after he moved to the United States for a few years in 1988 and indulged in a nonstop diet of junk food and soft drinks.
A botched liposuction that damaged his lymph nodes left him with giant tumors on both legs weighing a total of 220 pounds. The tumors are the main reason he is unable to walk.
"It is all because of the junk food," he said.
About two years ago, a team of doctors stepped in to help Uribe change his eating habits and tackle his extreme obesity.
Today he says he eats small portions of food five times a day, including chicken, ham, egg-white omelets, fruit and vegetables. Sitting in bed, Uribe exercises his arms with pull-ups and by pedaling with his hands.
Hoping his struggle will inspire others, he plans to launch the Manuel Uribe Foundation this year to educate people about nutrition and to combat obesity - a growing problem in Mexico.
Solis is focused more on the present.
"It is a miracle he is still alive," she said. "He's going to turn 43, and that is something we have to celebrate."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
George and Richard Shea, the two brothers who run the annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s on Coney Island, are considering changing the duration of the competition from 12 minutes to 10 minutes, and some competitive eaters are finding the new rule hard to swallow. George Shea told the Brooklyn Paper that the change is being weighed after an investigation into the traditional time limit unearthed a 1986 Times article that clocks the contest at 10 minutes.
Therefore all qualifying rounds will last just 10 minutes this year, and the ultimate July 4th battle will likely be shortened to that time as well. The change has outraged reigning champ Joey Chestnut, who didn't edge out six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi until the last few minutes of last year’s contest. Chesnut calls the change “ridiculous.”
One competitive eater, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, accused the Shea brothers of changing the rules to appease Nathan’s, because recent contests have led to the very public vomiting of their product: “That’s the last image that Nathan’s wants on TV screens all over the country — people spitting up their delicious hot dogs.” George Shea vigorously denied that suggestion, telling BP, “That’s not the issue! The issue is history, and the preponderance of the evidence now suggests that the contest was always 10 minutes.” But reporter Gersh Kuntzman ends the story by referencing two Times articles from the ‘70s that report the contest as lasting just three-and-a-half-minutes. Developing!
Image of Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chesnut at last year's contest via ESPN.
Major League Eating President Richard Shea said the Times article was particularly compelling evidence that the contest’s traditional length was actually 10 minutes, not the 12 minutes that have been the standard for at least two decades.
“It had David Dunlap’s byline, and he’s a credible reporter,” Richard Shea said. “Plus, it mentioned that the winner ate his hot dogs and buns, so clearly he got the details correct.”
The decision will have profound implications on the man-eat-dog world of gustatory gluttony.
Chestnut was disappointed in the change, hailing the 12-minute contest as “the sport’s standard.”
“I think it’s a ridiculous change,” the champ said, via cellphone from his home near San Jose, Calif.
But he did not think the shorter format would affect his game.
“Every eater can get to his capacity in 10 minutes, or in even less time,” he said. “I’ll just have to get to my capacity faster.”
Another celebrated eater questioned the Shea brothers’ integrity in overseeing a sport that has ballooned like the midsection of a competitive eater.
“I know what this is all about,” said the eater, who requested anonymity because he is still active on a circuit that includes contests in lobster rolls, ice cream, jalapeno peppers and pan-seared cow brains.
“The contest is ultimately about marketing Nathan’s, and there have been too many close calls lately.”
Indeed, Kobayashi himself has suffered reflexes contrary to swallowing twice in his illustrious career, most recently last year, when he appeared to vomit up bits of hot dog and bun, only to re-ingest it.
Some saw it as the mark of a true champion. Others saw it as disgusting.
“That’s the last image that Nathan’s wants on TV screens all over the country — people spitting up their delicious hot dogs,” the eater said.
But George Shea vehemently denied that the two-minute trim was an effort to sanitize the contest.
“That’s not the issue!” he said. “The issue is history, and the preponderance of the evidence now suggests that the contest was always 10 minutes.
“It’s like the Constitution,” he added. “Are you a strict constructionist or not?”
Shea was asked whether he was.
“I don’t know,” he said. “What’s a strict constructionist about the Constitution? I’m not sure. But on this, I am a strict constructionist.”
Shea may have to eat those words. Research by The Brooklyn Paper uncovered two earlier Times articles, one from 1972 and another from 1974 that referred to a three-and-a-half-minute contest.
Nathan's Famous announced today that it will donate 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank For New York City, a hunger relief charity that is part of the America's Second Harvest network. Nathan's Famous President Wayne Norbitz will make the donation during his company's annual Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York.
"Each year, Nathan's Famous makes a donation to hunger relief organizations as part of our world famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest," says Wayne Norbitz, president and COO of Nathan's Famous Inc. "I am very pleased to announce that this year we'll make our biggest donation ever, a total of 100,000 Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs." As it has in year's past, the donation will be made at the original Nathan's Famous on Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, New York. The ceremony will happen just before the 2008 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, which last year drew tens of thousands of competitive eating fans and millions of TV viewers.The contest has been held at the original Nathan's Famous restaurant in Coney Island each July 4th since 1916.
BUFFALO, NY—It's 1:30 a.m. Chris Rierden breathes a beleaguered sigh as he counts a large wad of singles next to the dumpsters behind a local Hooters. Though you wouldn't know it to look at the haggard, sauce-covered 32-year-old, Rierden—who currently ekes out a living hustling unsuspecting locals in impromptu low-stakes chicken-wing-eating contests—was at one time the most promising competitive eater on the professional circuit.
But with one bad decision, that once-bright future went dark forever. Gone is the $85,000 home outside of Akron. Gone is the ESPN2 guest-commentator spot. Gone are the mid-range American cars, the weekend miniature-golf outings, and the decent-looking women.
Chris Rierden threw it all away.
"I never got a legitimate shot at [retired world champion Takeru] Kobayashi, but I know I could have taken him," Rierden says over two dozen hot dogs. "Anybody who's seen my old tapes would tell you that. I was good. Maybe I could've been the best. Of course, there's no use dwelling on it now."
How could such a talented gurgitator have fallen so far from the glory of rapidly forcing 13 pounds of calf brains down his throat on national television? As Rierden will candidly admit, the answer is an all-too-familiar story of hubris and greed.
"I took a dive, plain and simple," Rierden says. "A heavily invested party who shall remain nameless paid me $30,000 to throw up while eating a five-gallon tub of mayonnaise in a competition where I was the clear favorite. I had just come off a strong showing in matzo balls and I thought I was invincible. The [International] Federation [of Competitive Eating] caught wind of it, and I was banned for life."
"I betrayed the gift, and now I can't even look at 19 pounds of deep-fried asparagus without feeling sick," adds Rierden, staring vacantly into a bucket of french fries.
Rierden's circumstances steadily declined after his 2002 ejection from the world of competitive eating. After falling off his training program, the former 230-pound gastronomic athlete ballooned to a doughy 245. In September 2005, after losing his third job in a row and being served with an eviction notice, a destitute Rierden began entering illegal backroom eating contests.
"The money was good, but it was just too dangerous," Rierden says of the thriving black- market sport, where the average life span of unsanctioned eaters is three to five years. "You never know when someone with a lot riding on a match is going to spike a 10-gallon bowl of jambalaya with habaneros. I saw grown men forced to use the same rusty spoons over and over again without washing them. There are zero rules or regulations. Two guys just eat until someone's stomach explodes."
After nearly dying from ingesting 12 pounds of tainted cookie dough during an illegal competition, Rierden left the underground eating rings and started hustling amateurs full-time.
Rierden is the first to admit that the sports bars and other dives he can be found in most nights are a long way from the glitz and glamour of official events sponsored by the IFOCE. These days, a typical evening for the former champ consists of casing 10-cent wing promotions at local watering holes in search of drunken frat boys and other would-be challengers willing to lay down quick bets on eating contests.
"You get friendly with some cocky chump who thinks he can pack it away, and you ham it up," Rierden says. "You nibble at a few wings and say you had a big dinner, or complain about how spicy they are and maybe pop a few Tums for effect. After a couple of friendly challenges, you suggest making it interesting. Then you waste the dupe by pounding 40 or 50 wings in eight minutes and you're on your way to the next dump."
But even in this simple con, things don't always go so smoothly. Rierden now sports a full set of dentures after a gang of bikers he divested of $32 in an Albany honky-tonk dragged him into a back alley and pulled out all of his teeth with pliers.
"Good wings at that place, though," Rierden says.
Although Rierden has begun crawling his way up from rock bottom, those lucky enough to have seen him in action still consider his story one of the greatest tragedies in the sport. Friends who are still involved in competitive eating and stay in contact with him often lament his wasted talent and singular stomach capacity.
"He's still more than good enough to compete, but with this lifetime ban, there's really nowhere for him to go," says Rierden's former trainer and IFOCE contender Rick "The Tummy" Mickelson. "Chris is like Icarus. He flew too close to the sun and then ate his own wings."
Don ''Moses'' Lerman's Partial Dentures Go On Sale 6/18/08 Reserve now , buy in on apiece of history go to paypal at the MosesStore and order i of 3 partals a. the original b the one worn at the eats of strength c flipper imagine having george Washingtons wooden teeth well Don lerman Concidered by most to be the father of competive eating willsell to the first person willing to put in a $1,OOO ORDER PERPARTIAL , hurry this offer wont last.
The Tale of The Old Prospector Many Moons ago in the old West many a young man went west to mine the California Hills got there as young men , worked a lifetime growing old hoping for the big strike 'the Mother Load , to see gold at the end of the tunnel only for a big mining corporation to come in at the very end of and jump his claim and have all that now old Prospector worked for.When i was growing up there was a Gas station "Gus'' who worked hard never worked other than in the costumers interest a Rare Honest Mechanic His shop was located on Maine Street Flushing not far from Booth Memorial Hospital he heard of a new development being built "CARLISLE TOWERS" He worked and suffered in the muck & meyer of the construction around the prerfeare of his station with blocked streets , barly eiking out a living only for the oil company to pull his lease when the construction was over and never saw the pot of gold at the end of the tunnel someone who never sufferded and got his hand s dirty , walked into a gold mine. the createrof Superman Comic book rever reaped the fortune that Hollywood made from his creation . Well I helped make competitive eating the sport it is today. Iam that oldprospector . Iam that gas station mechanic . am the orignator of superman . Its nice to have new people follow in your footsteps but I never worked my tail off so the eaters of today can reap the pot of gold in the sport that I helped define and shape and glory of the seed that I sowed.and thats the way Ifeel..Don Lerman
Without a Trace (10-11 p.m., CBS3) - A man collapses after winning a chili-eating contest, then disappears. The team learns that although his doctor had warn ed him that competitive eating would kill him, the real cause of his collapse was poisoning.
WOODRUFF, Utah, June 2 (UPI) -- The eighth annual Testicle Festival in Woodruff, Utah, has helped raised nearly $30,000 for charity by dispensing plenty of bull testicles, volunteers say.Festival volunteer Lori Cornia said in addition to raising donations, the Black Gold Cattle Co. event served plenty of deep-fried bull testicles, also known as "Rocky Mountain Oysters," The Salt Lake Tribune reported."Some people have trouble with them," Cornia said. "Just think of it as veal."The event, which had 250 pounds of the "Oysters" available for visitors, also included old-time rodeo events such as team branding and range bull riding.Cornia said the festival was an annual chance for people to enjoy the food once seen as a rare treat by farmers' friends and family."It was considered a treat, since they only got it once a year," she told the Tribune. "Of course, you probably wouldn't want to eat it more than that."
Competitive eaters graze their way through Overland Park
By RYAN YOUNG
The Kansas City Star
Erik “the Red” Denmark (above and below, left) downed 24 hot dogs and buns Saturday, beating runner-up Chris “The Mad Greek” Abatsas (above, right). George Shea of Major League Eating (center) was the emcee.
T he radio contest winner and mother of two from Independence wouldn’t last long. The Kansas City hotel manager would gut it out — very literally — but he couldn’t keep pace, either.
Not with “Erik the Red” and “The Mad Greek.”
In a spectacle that should make ol’ Nathan proud, 13 competitors lined up in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club in Overland Park on Saturday to digest — or at least swallow — as many hot dogs and buns as they could in 10 minutes.
A crowd of about 150 people stood in front of a large tent to watch one of the nationwide qualifiers for the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York.
The title may be a mouthful, but it’s only appropriate.
Erik “the Red” Denmark downed 24 hot dogs and buns — HDBs, as they’re called — for a narrow victory Saturday. By winning, he claimed his place in the annual July 4th Coney Island competition.
Slowed by the heat, Chris “The Mad Greek” Abatsas could swallow only 23 HDBs. He and the other challengers had to settle for the consolation of a full stomach and the inherent repercussions.
“I grew up playing golf, tennis, a lot of individual sports,” Denmark said. “Those 10 minutes are the most intense competition I’ve ever been involved in.”
He’s serious about competitive eating — as is George Shea, the chairman of Major League Eating who has spent two decades growing the … sport.
“To see 200 people come out, it shows you that people get it, and they’re hearing about it and they understand what it is,” said Shea, who served as emcee for the event Saturday. “They used to not understand what it was. … I would be in the middle of a food court at a mall on a stage, badgering people just to join the contest.”
Not anymore. He said there had been around 75 applicants for the limited number of spots in the Overland Park qualifier.
The competitors came from as far away as Cleveland, Chicago, Seattle and points in between to vie for a ticket to Coney Island.
The best of the bunch brought nicknames and reputations to the table.
Howard Harrison, the 35-year-old Kansas City hotel manager, came with neither and was stuffed after seven or eight HDBs.
“It’s quite overwhelming,” he said. “Definitely, I’m going to try this again, but … I’ll be (better) prepared.”
Wendy Bannister, the 32-year-old local stay-at-home mom who called into a radio show to earn her place, didn’t last that long. Stuck in the crossfire of flying hot dog residue between Denmark and Abatsas, she bowed out after less than five minutes.
“It was pretty disgusting,” she said later. “That’s why I ate two and ran … but it was fun.”
For others though, it’s a little more than that.
Shea says he’s a “true believer” in the competition. And he’s not the only one. The annual July 4th showdown in Coney Island has been broadcast on ESPN. There is even a competitive eating video game that’s been developed.
Denmark, a 29-year-old from Seattle, arrived after a business trip to St. Louis. He enters about 20 eating events a year and has competed in the July 4th hot dog challenge in Coney Island each of the past two years. His resume includes such feats as 147 jalapenos in 15 minutes and 61 hard boiled eggs in 8 minutes.