Somewhere a long time ago the first competitive eating contest was held. Maybe it was a bunch of kids eating cherry pies or watermelons. But however murky the origins of this “sport” may be, one of the more bizarre events is the Nathan’s Hot Dog Challenge held at Coney Island every forth of July. The record for hot dogs and buns consumed in 10:00 minutes is now 72, set by current world champion Joey Chestnut. He accomplished this just a few days ago.
It is not a pleasant competition to watch. Eaters dip their buns in a cup of water and just slop it all into their mouths: astonishingly in Chestnut’s case, at the rate of about 7 dogs and buns a minute. In fact, it’s downright gross.
Things really ramped up with the emergence of Takeru Kobayashi, a 128-lb Japanese eater who came up with the idea of separating the roll from the bun and mushing the roll in water, a technique now used by all eaters. But Kobayashi has boycotted the Nathan’s event since 2009 and it’s been the 6-2, 230 lb Chestnut’s playground as he’s won 8 of the last 9 contests.
The spectacle seems to be popular. It’s televised each year and the stands are packed with raucous fans (mostly young men).
There’s one thing that bothers me. 72 hot dogs and rolls amount to over 20,000 calories in ten minutes. That’s enough to last the average male 6 days!!! All those calories have to go somewhere or Chestnut would weigh 950 lbs. I would strongly speculate that sometime after the contest is over, the “athletes” have to somehow get rid of a whole lot of those calories. Care to guess how they do it? I don’t even want to think about it.
But it’s likely that the show will go on next year and the next. I mean, you can only watch so much football, baseball and basketball, right?