the gluttonous showdown

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

If there's one thing I learned on the Fourth of July, it's this: competitive eating is not a joke. It is a serious sport (I checked - the definition for sport does NOT mention physical fitness). Since Saturday, when I've told people I went to the International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, many have said, "No way! How did you do?"

That is both a devastating and flattering question. On one hand, people think it's reasonable that I might enter a contest where shoving dozens of hot dogs down your gullet as fast as you can is the main event. Actually, now that I've written that, I can't remember why I thought it might be flattering.

This contest is what I call a Big Deal. The "athletes" are often professional competitive eaters, meaning shoving foodstuffs down their gullets as fast as they can is what they do. They "train" by drinking gallons of water or eating massive amounts of vegetables in order to stretch out their stomachs. They engage in all sorts of gag-preventing and esophagus-relaxing exercises. It's really, really gross. And it's not just big dudes who like hot dogs! One of the top-ranked competitive eaters in the world is Sonya Thomas, a 98-pound Asian woman who once ate 11 pounds of cheesecake in 9 minutes. She gained over 10% of her body weight in CHEESECAKE. In 9 minutes. She's also the world record holder for hard boiled eggs - 65 in under 7 minutes. More than 5 DOZEN EGGS! The only other person on record for eating that many eggs is Gaston, the ANIMATED BRUTE from Beauty and the Beast. And he was roughly the size of a BARGE!

Witnessing the contest was pretty amazing/horrifying. I can imagine every eating contest has its "eew" factor (the smell at the hard boiled eggs contest, the cow brains at the cow brain contest), and the hot dog contest is no exception. Apart from the overall grossness of a giant pile of hot dogs, there is the "dipping" factor. Contestants dip their hot dog buns in water or 7-Up to expedite the whole process. As a person who is sensitive to even slightly soggy French Toast, the idea of half-dissolved hot dog bun juice is... probably the worst part of the whole thing. Maybe the worst thing ever?

The winner, Joey Chestnut, ate 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, narrowly beating out Japan's Takeru Kobayashi, the world record holder for cow brains who recently lost a hot dog eating contest to a live Kodiak bear (it was actually pretty close).

If you have a strong stomach and can tolerate a little bun juice, you can watch the whole blessed event here. Look for us in the crowd - not in the contestant lineup, thank you very much.


e said...

Angie, my love for you increases with every passing moment.

Lacey Jane said...

Wow- what an event to observe!!! I think I saw this on television on ESPN over the weekend too.

This definitely takes mad skills. I wonder if they allow participants to eat soy dogs? If so, sign me up.

Ummm... jk.

Elisabeth (and Tyler) said...

I had the same reaction when mentioning the final count on Facebook.. "Wow, you ate 68?"

Thanks again for letting us tag along. I like you a whole lot.

Jill said...

oh my hilarious. i agree, nothing could be more disgusting than hot dugs with buns dunked in liquid... get me a bucket.

Emily said...

I can't help but wonder... how does one end up attending this event?

Reno said...

Oh, it's easy. Hop on the subway and ride it to the end. You're there! This is not an exclusive event by any means.