Monday, July 4, 2011

Joey Chestnut Triumphs At Hot Dog Fest While The First-Ever Women’s Competition Is Covered In A 3 Minute Wrap-Up

Happy Fourth of July! And as any fan of competitive eating knows, today is the 96th annual Nathan’s Hot Dog contest, otherwise know as "A Battle of the Ages" or "The Mount Sinai of Mastication", held in Brooklyn, New York’s Coney Island.

New this year is a women’s bracket for the famous hot dog eating competition. In a pre”game” interview, George Shea of Major League Eating called the female competitors “the Suffragettes of the Stomach”.

This is a big day in the history of gender equality. The women wanted a women’s-only competition and they got it, although many of its entrants can hold their own against the men.

But, why oh why, was coverage of the women’s event limited to a 3 minute segment? The ladies were described as the “greatest gurgitators” of the world by Espn reporter, Renee Herlocker. (What an unlikely name for a female sports reporter.) She told us of the rivalry between the great “Black Widow” of the “sport”, Sonja Thomas (all 105 pounds of her) and Juliet Lee, “Lovely Juliet Lee”.

The 9 women entrants had to eat more than 20 hot dogs to qualify.

One of the (male) anchors said the women on stage seemed “more like a Junior League meeting than Major League eating.”

What the hamburger?!@#$%@? If that’s not a smarmy downplaying of the ladies’ considerable accomplishments, I don’t know what is!

The results (as reported a half hour after the competition finished):
Juliet took the lead early on. One of the anchors remarked that she might have pulled a “Pippa” and upstaged the Princess of Coney Island, Sonja.

But it was not to be. The Black Widow triumphed, as she has so many times before, by ingesting (I don’t call what she just did “eating”) FORTY hot dogs. (She did NOT, however, break her own record of 41.) Juliet Lee and Stephanie Torres tied for second by downing 29 hot dogs AND buns each.

When asked if she was going to be hungry tonight, Sonja said, “Oh yeah! Right now I’m full of hot dogs, but I can eat something else later on.” I love her optimism!

Then on to the men’s competition, which was obviously the main event, as evidenced by the amount of coverage it got in comparison to the gals.

Here are the rules for those who unwisely want to try this home:
Competitors must eat hot dog and bun
10 minute time limit
Dunking may not exceed 5 seconds
Automatic DQ for “reversal of fortune”
There’s one more thing. A yellow card can be issued for “messy eating”. I have no clue what that means. Actually, the whole thing looks so messy that I have to admit I have to look away and just listen to the commentary. It’s way too gross to actually watch.

Oh, as far as trying this at home. Major League Eating strongly discourages that and has a special message on its website for those who might try it:
Safety is the first consideration in any sport, and MLE insists that all sanctioned competitive eating matches take place in a controlled environment with proper safety measures in place.
MLE will not sanction or promote any events that do not adhere to proper safety regulations and the league believes that speed eating is only suitable for those 18 years of age or older and only in a controlled environment with appropriate rules and with an emergency medical technician present.
MLE strongly opposes and discourages home training of any kind. MLE also strongly discourages younger individuals from eating for speed or quantity under any circumstances. MLE urges all interested parties to become involved in sanctioned events -- do not try speed eating (at) home.
Hmm, maybe if an “emergency medical technician” is needed for this event, one might rethink participating in it. But this is America, land of the greedy and home of the gluttonous (and I mean that in the best possible way), so what better place to watch Joey Chestnut defend his title?

The contest starts with lengthy video packages about the main contenders. They finally get to it and Joey Chestnut takes the win again with 62 dogs. (In 10 minutes!!!) Was it a good idea, do you think, to have a Prilosec commercial for getting rid of heartburn IMMEDIATELY following the win?

Pat Bertoletti came in second with 53 and Tim Jones followed with 45 dogs and buns. Significant achievements, certainly…

This was Joey’s 5th win of the champion’s mustard belt. Holding a bottle of Pepto Bismal (I guess Prilosec didn’t contribute the really big bucks) and his winner’s belt, Joey said the humid conditions didn’t affect him. And with a kiss of the pink bottle, we are left to wait until next year for another brush with jingoistic, gurgitating greatness.

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