Another Reason We Celebrate the Fourth...

That Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest: 
This year around 40-thousand fans will hang out around the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the contest which has been going on for 101 years --since 1916, when NATHAN HANDWERKER opened the original restaurant on Coney Island.
   The pre-show starts at 10 am with performances by various musical groups and rap performances. The women's competition begins at 11 am (Eastern), the men at 12 (although the eating actually begins at 12:40 pm, after the introductions and all). You can see it on ESPN2 beginning at noon with reruns at 4 pm and 10 pm (all times Eastern).

   Winners receive the traditional mustard-yellow championship belt, competitive eating's greatest prize, like golf's green jacket for the Masters winner or football's Vince Lombardi Trophy and... a $20-thousand cash prize for each division (There's 16 male contestants and 14 women). Last year, JOEY CHESTNUT took the crown back from MATT "Megatoad" STONIE by eating 70 hot dogs in the 10-minute regulation match. It was his ninth win.

   MIKI SUDO of Las Vegas, NV, won her third title in as many years, beating three-time winner, 49-year-old SONYA "The Black Widow" THOMAS, who is currently the female world record holder with 45 hot dogs and buns, which she set in 2012.

   In addition to the finals, Nathan’s holds several hot dog eating competitions in the weeks and months before the big event, and qualifiers are also invited to participate.

   Joey Chestnut, who's 33, was "Rookie of the Year" in the International Federation of Competitive Eating (which registers challengers) in 2005. He first took down defending champion TAKERU KOBAYASHI of Nagano, Japan, in 2007 and set the current record in 2007. In previous competitions, he's eaten 102 tamales in 12 min, 121 Twinkies in 6 min, 70 Bratwurst in 10 min, 62 Pulled Pork sliders in 10 min, 141 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes, seven and a half pounds of Buffalo Chicken Wings in 12 minutes, 103 Krystal hamburgers in eight minutes, and 118 Jalapeno poppers in 10 minutes. He also had 25 pastrami sandwiches and 23 six-inch Cheesesteaks in 10 minutes.


- burp    MM