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Nathan’s Famous 2010 Hot Dog Eating Contest…and a word from the sponsor!

July 5, 2010
It was incredibly packed on Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island today.  I got to the scene around noon.  My subway (the Q train) had been filled with tons of white t-shirt flip-flop styrofoam cooler carrying beach goers.  After leaving the station, I walked into a wall of people, not to mention oppressive heat.  I hear it got up to about 100 degrees today.  I saw the crowd and decided that there was absolutely no way of getting anywhere close to the stage.  The next realization was that everyone would probably be inspired by the contest and would therefore all be on line for a dog.  My next decision was crucial…get some hot dogs now, then check out the events.  The decision was a smart one as I missed someone’s singing performance of Nena’s ’99 Luftballoons.’ 

A small part of the massive crowd growing in intensity for the orgy of encased meat

The lines were not so bad considering that most likely every employee (and maybe some extras) was working today. 

A sea of yellow and green prepares everyone's lunch...or breakfast in my case.

The gatekeepers prepare the feast for the hungry masses

Since it felt kind of early (and due to some jetlag from my vacation) I decided that any toppings including cheese, bacon, or chili would be too heavy.  Therefore I decided on an Original (to which I added mustard and ketchup) and a peppers and onions dog (to which I added mustard).  Once again, a great couple of dogs.  The peppers and onions were marinated in a tangy sauce, not the brown-red glop they usually have at carts which I don’t care for.  These were recognizably peppers and onions, a perfect foil for any encased meat.

I should have gotten 2 more.

Original and Pepper Onion in vertical glory

Up next: the contest!

The crowds watch the large screen since we can't see the stage.

NYPD gets a birds-eye view to protect against any rogue Kobayashis.

I had virtually no view of the stage, but there was a large screen on a truck on Surf Ave providing ESPN’s broadcast of the event. 

The Champ!

Crazy Legs Conti!

The crowd welcomed the 16 competitors and then it was on!  Depending on what other articles you read, anywhere from 40,000 to 75,000 people counted down to start the feeding frenzy.  As many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes.  And they’re off!

My vantage point

Would Joey Chestnut break his record of 68 hot dogs and reach the coveted 70 mark?  Chestnut has won the contest 3 years in a row, and it seemed that he would clinch it this year, especially with the notable absence of his biggest rival, Takeru Kobayashi.  For a few minutes, Chestnut kept up a great pace with an astounding 17 dogs in 2 minutes and 22 in 3 minutes.  He was followed close behind by Eater X Tim Janus (bearing resemblance to The Ultimate Warrior from the old WWF days) who had 22 dogs in 4 minutes. 

Eater X chases down the champ!

The heat was very harsh though and Chestnut began to slow down.  I read reports where he said he was too dehydrated going into the contest which kept him slowed down.  And being in Coney Island, which to me always seems like the hottest place on earth (sorry Death Valley), can’t be useful in anyone’s strategy book.  Chestnut leveled off around 50 dogs and was finally able to bring home the glory with 54!  Not a record setter but surely the sign of a true champion!  Chestnut was followed by Eater X in second place with 45 dogs and Pat Bertoletti in 3rd with 37 dogs.  You can refer to the Major League Eating website for more news and stats on the event.

The king keeps his throne and soothes his stomach!

If you were one of the thousands of people who couldn’t see the stage, you had no idea about the controversy that ensued when the contest was over.  Reportedly, Kobayashi stormed the stage and tried to start eating as well, but was arrested in the process.  He had actually been barred from competition due to contract disputes with MLE.  Check out this article, which also has video, of the incident. 

On a lighter and funnier note, you may have noticed the logo for Pepto Bismol in some of the above photos.  This is the first year that they are the official sponsor of the Nathan’s contest.  What was also great is that Pepto contacted us to see if we were covering the event.  So Mike and I found 2 things hilarious about this whole thing: 1.) the partnership of Pepto and the Nathan’s contest makes a lot of sense, and 2.) they are reading our blog!!!  So thanks for taking notice Pepto!  You can see Chestnut in the above photo holding his bottle of Pepto, about to receive the championship belt, also bearing the PB logo.  They also have a facebook page you can check out!

The hot dog shaped Pepto balloons were everywhere!

The leftover spoils of war.

The longest time of the year until the next contest.

This was my first time attending the contest and had a great time.  Maybe some day we can work out a press pass and get some photos in front of the stage.  Congrats again to Chestnut and thanks to Pepto Bismol for taking notice of our humble blog.  I left Coney Island with delicious dogs and Orangeade in my belly and went back home to air conditioning.  Here’s a final photo of Coney Island from the train at the West 8th street-Aqarium stop.  Happy 4th of July weekend everybody!

Fun times at Coney Island

Nathan’s Famous  1310 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11224

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 9:51 am

    Great recap! And congrats on getting a shout out from the sponsor of the contest, so awesome!!

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