There’s just something about competitive eating. Although it’s quite
disgusting to watch, it’s hard not to enjoy campy festivals of gluttony. Make a visit to one of these competitive eating contests, and you’ll get to watch gurgitators take on the likes of legendary hot dogs, tongue testing jalapenos, and even pig’s feet. We dare you to count the calories.
Nathan’s Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island has been going on for almost 100 years now, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. In recent times, this challenge has been dominated by Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi, but last year, the US brought it back home with Joey Chestnut, who out ate Kobayashi by just 3 dogs. With this kind of win, this year’s event is sure to be even more popular than before
The Buffalo Wing Festival, held in Buffalo, New York,
boasts two different competitive eating contests. One is the US Chicken Wing Eating Championship, while the other is the Buffalo Buffet Bowl. In the BuffetBowl, eaters have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs, roast beef sandwiches, pierogis, and chicken wings as they can. Last year, pint-sized Sonya Thomas took home the prize for both contests, setting a new world record of 173 chicken wings in 12 minutes for the Chicken Wing Eating Championship, and a full 8 pounds of food in less than 6 minutes to win the Buffalo Buffet Bowl.
The Beach, Boogie & BBQ in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is the place to beat pulled pork BBQ sandwich world records. This contest has seen world records set by both Sonya Thomas and most recently, Joey Chestnut. Last year’s spectators saw Joey Chestnut down 45 pulled pork BBQ sandwiches to take the win and the world record. Hot on his heels was Pat Bertoletti, coming in at 43.5. Next year’s contest should be one to watch.
Held in Chicago,Illinois, the "Feel the Heat" Jalapeno Eating Challenge attracts some of the biggest iron stomachs in competitive eating. In 2007, these brave gurgitators took on so many jalapenos that La Costena actually ran out and had to cut thecontest short. Chicago native Pat Bertoletti was victorious, coming in at 191 jalapenos, followed by Sonya Thomas’ 141, and 120 for Rich LeFevre.
The New Jersey State Fair plays host to one of the most challenging eating events sanctioned by theInternational Federation of Competitive Eating. In this competition, eaters take on
11-pound trays of pig’s feet and knuckles, which are boiled and spritzed with lemon juice. This challenge is a far cry from tasty hamburgers, but Arturo Rios, Jr. pulled a win, followed by Eric Denmark and Crazy Legs Conti. If you can stomach a meal after watching this display, be sure to check out one of the fair’s many food booths.
Last but not least is the World Pizza Eating Championship, held by Three Brothers Pizza in Greenbelt, Maryland. The event was graced by "Humble" Bob Shoudt, a former Ursinus College Pizza Champ, but was ultimately won by Pat Bertoletti, who took down 19 slices to win the pizza pie prize. This is also the event in which the world was introduced to an emerging competitive eater, Juliet Lee, who ate a menacing 11 slices in the amateur competition.
This competition, held on Long Beach’s Queen Mary, inspires big eaters and big spectators alike. In 2007, Wienerschnitzel hosted a chili cheese fry competition that was graced by top eaters Sonya Thomas, Joey Chestnut, "Humble" Bob Shoudt, and Eater X. While a visiting Takeru Kobayashi looked on, star gurgitator Joey Chestnut took home the win for this competition, closely beating out Eater X. There are also reports that Gabe Kaplan, previously known for his work on"Welcome Back Kotter," was there to cheer on Juliet Lee, who took fifth place.
In Houston, the Kolache Factory held a kolache eating contest at Minute Maid Park, attracting big names in eating including Bob Shoudt, Pat Bertoletti, Joey Chestnut, and Sonya Thomas. This event was another close win for Joey Chestnut, who came in at 56 kolaches, just barely inching ahead of Pat Bertoletti’s 54.
At the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada, competitive eaters battle it out to see who can eat the most ribs. Last year’s competition attracted gurgitatingall-stars like Pat Bertoletti, Rich LeFevre, and Joey Chestnut. In the course of the event, Rich LeFevre broke his left front tooth, but stayed tough and continued to compete. He is believed to have swallowed the tooth. In the end, victory went to Joey Chestnut with a full 7 pounts of ribs.
Nathan’s holds the world hot dog championship, while Krystal hosts the World Hamburger Eating Championship. This Chattanooga,
Tennessee, event consists of qualifying tours in which amateurs get a chance to go up against the professionals. In the first year of the event, amateurs took down the professionals, so it’s always an exciting possibility. Last year, world hot dog champion Joey Chestnut took home the award for burgers as well, chomping past Bob Shoudt for the win and a sole spot in the competition’s highest echelon of 100 burgers or more.