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February 8th, 2004


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03:57 am - Here it is, ladies and gentlemen
"America's fastest-growing sport!" Can you guess what it is?

Cup-stacking?
Pinewood Derby?
Kickboxing from the Phillippines?

Why no... it's...

Competitive Eating.

History

Competitive eating is among the most diverse, dynamic and demanding sports in history. It dates back to the earliest days of mankind and stands alongside original athletic pursuits such as running, jumping and throwing. If you have 30 hungry Neanderthals in a cave and rabbit walks in, that is a competitive eating situation. Of course, in the last two centuries competitive eating has been practiced with somewhat more formality.

The Japanese culture is known for its reverence of competitive eaters and continues to celebrate their accomplishments. Takeru Kobayashi, Kazutoyo Arai and Hirofumi Nakajima are just a few of the eaters who have distinguished themselves at the table, setting record after record before stunned crowds.

In the United States, competitive eaters were dominant figures early in the 20th Century, when names like Charles Sylvester Carter and Stan Libnitz tripped off the tongue of any self-respecting sporting man. During the past decade the discipline has again risen in popularity in America, appealing to fans seeking a pure and fundamental sport. It is impossible to overstate the contributions of American eaters such as Mike "The Scholar" Devito (now IFOCE commissioner), Ed Krachie and Charles Hardy, who held the U.S. eating mantle high in the 1990s despite the ever-increasing challenge from the Pacific rim.

Nations that have now embraced the sport include Canada, Germany, Thailand, England, Russia and Scotland. Barry Noble, Peter Dowdeswell and Chris Eyre are just a few of the international emissaries who have leveraged the popularity of competitive eating for charity and other good works.

The IFOCE has organized the major sanctioned eating events of the year into a formal (and ever-growing) circuit. Chicken wings are followed by matzo balls are followed by pickles are followed hot dogs and so on in a dizzying series of challenges for the amateur and professional gurgitators who pursue the eating life.

The dominant event of the year -- and indeed the dominant event in the sport as it is practiced internationally -- is the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, which has stood as the de facto Olympics of the sport and as a litmus test of patriotism for eaters of all nations.

The Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Each Fourth of July a group of 20 steely-eyed individuals line up behind a 30-foot table at Nathan's flagship restaurant on Surf Avenue in Coney Island to begin the world hot dog eating championship. At 12 Noon, crushed by fans and media, the competitors begin the historic 12-minute contest.

According to archives, the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held in 1916, the year Nathan's opened on Surf Avenue. The contest has been held each year since then, except in 1941, when it was canceled as a protest to the war in Europe, and in 1971, when it was canceled as a protest to civil unrest and the reign of free love.

The all-time world record is currently held by Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, who ate 50 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in 2001 to nearly double the previous record held by countryman Kazutoyo Arai, who ate 25 1/8 hot dogs and buns in July 2000. American Steve Keiner held the belt in victory 1999, beating Hirofumi Nakajima and prompting tears of joy in Coney Island.

However, Hirofumi Nakajima will remain known as one of the world's greatest eaters, due in part to his early record of 24 1/2 hot dogs and buns and to his years-long rivalry with former world champion and fan favorite, American Edward Krachie.

Krachie ate 22 1/4 hot dogs and buns on July 4, 1996 to top the previous record held by Frank "Large" Dellarosa, a fellow Maspeth resident who ate 21 1/2 hot dogs and buns in the 1991 contest. Prior to this, Peter Washburn, a Brooklyn carnival worker, was world-record holder for more than a decade, with 18 1/2 hot dogs and buns.


That's it, folks.

As a civilization, we have officially come as far as we can.

I like how the hot dog eating contest has been cancelled to protest war and war protests. That'll show Hitler/them dirty hippies!!

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:maga_dogg
Date:February 8th, 2004 11:02 am (UTC)
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When, centuries hence, historians in Xi'an are analysing causes of the Fall of the Fuckwit Empire, this document will prove invaluable to them.
[User Picture]
From:tikva
Date:February 8th, 2004 03:51 pm (UTC)
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tiurin actually keeps tabs on this sport. It's quite frightening.
From:archangelsk
Date:February 8th, 2004 05:36 pm (UTC)
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We should ask misterweasel to translate HEY LARDASS! CHOW DOWN, WIDE LOAD! into Japanese for us.
[User Picture]
From:ivorjawa
Date:February 8th, 2004 08:00 pm (UTC)

Re:

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I seem to remember that the guy who wins that hotdog eating contest every year is rather svelte.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2004 06:22 pm (UTC)
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Don't miss the bios! They've got some of the best writing in the bidniss:

There is an century-old prophesy within the competitive eating community, dismissed by most, that foretells the rise of the "One Eater," a woman who will electrify America's gurgitators and lead them to international victory once again. Like Joan of Arc before her, this eater will be slender of stature, but mighty in strength.


[User Picture]
From:zorndeslammes
Date:February 8th, 2004 06:29 pm (UTC)

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What's funny is that there has been a evolution in the competitive eating field. What used to be a bunch of fat guys eating hamburgers is now a bunch of skinny guys eating them. The champion of the Coney Island Hot Dog eating contest is a 150 pound guy from Japan who apparently eats something like 4-5 pounds of fibrous vegetables like cabbage before hand (there was an article in ESPN magazine about this about 8-12 months ago).

[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:February 8th, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC)

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The bio I quoted above belongs to some skinny little thang who apparently ate an entire Turducken in 12 minutes.

Knowing that most people probably can't even get past a plateful, I find that amazing.
[User Picture]
From:nathanw
Date:February 8th, 2004 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Geez, I'm disappointed. I had my heart set on the answer being Belt Sander Drag Racing.

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