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Saturday, June 28, 2014


The craziest thing has happened to July 4.  Sure, Independence Day, but there are no truly great celebrations around the country.  Perhaps that concert on the Mall, A Capitol Fourth, 8-9:30 EDT on PBS in DC is noteworthy, and similar events in Boston (and this year, the Boston Pops will feature the Beach Boys) and New York City (with the Macy's fireworks the best of the three).   But this has mostly become only a day off, and a three day weekend this year.

The most commanding event is now Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.  Last year perennial champ Joey Chestnut swallowed in 10 minutes 69 hot dogs for his seventh straight title. Thirty-two year old Chestnut is 6 feet tall and weighs 225 pounds.

The women's competition was won by 46-year old Sonya Thomas with 36.75 dogs and buns.  Sonya, originally from South Korea, is a wonder.  At only 98 pounds, she has beaten men five times her size.  The pink belt (right) she regularly wins is appropriately sponsored by Pepto Bismol.  She holds 25 eating records, and among the most impressive are:
  • 44 lobsters (11.3 pounds of flesh) in 12 minutes
  • 11 pounds of cheesecake in 9 minutes
  • 1.125 GALLONS of chili in 6 minutes
  • 65 hard boiled eggs in 6 minutes and 40 seconds
  • 43 tacos in 11 minutes
  • 6 pounds of spam in 12 minutes (Richard LeFevre in 2004)
  • 121 Twinkies in 6 minutes (Joey Chestnut in 2013)
  • ONE GALLON of mayonnaise in 8 minutes (Oleg Zhornitskiy in 2002)
Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi of Japan, at 5'8" and 128 pounds, won the Nathan competition from 2001 to 2006, but has been on the sidelines since then, for contractual and other reasons.  We need  him back, for the TV coverage has dropped of recent.  Kobayashi, now 36 years old, has eaten 57 cow brains (17.7 pounds) in 15 minutes, 106 tacos in 10 minutes, 21 pounds of soba noodles in 12 minutes, 150 musubis (20 pounds of rice balls) in half an hour and two years ago consumed 110 hot dogs in ten minutes at the New York State Fair! 

Join the 50,000 spectators expected this year.  Be there by 11AM to get close so you can experience this nauseating spectacle.  ESPN televises from Noon (EDT) on July 4.  Well, heck, if this event is on ESPN, the Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest must be a valid sport.


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