Now I love me a hot dog, but I gotta admit that it is really hard to watch a competition where men are stuffing them into their mouths as if they hadn’t eaten in days.
That is exactly what I witnessed at the 4th Annual Hot Dog Eating contest at the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale, Florida. Although I think there may have been different levels/categories of competition, I only watched the participants in the final eat off.
The trays of hot dogs in buns are placed before the challengers along with 3 very large cups of water. It should be noted that these are not only for drinking, but also for dunking the buns to soften them up. Apparently it makes them go down easier.
The two-time reigning champion, Number 13, Mitchell Manresa, told me it makes the bread “like cotton candy. It just mushes away to nothing.”
Clearly this type of binge eating has nothing to do with taste.
If you think that the competition ends once the time is up and the MC says stop, you’d be wrong. You have to wait for the contestants to actually finish chewing, swallow and hold everything down that is still in their mouth. Only then will the judges take the final count.
In this case, it was a three-way tie. What are the odds of that happening??? All three contestants ate 12 hot dogs and buns in 3 minutes. Believe it.
Solution? The three challengers agreed to an “eat off” in a one minute tie breaker. Are you kidding? I have to watch them do this all over again???
After the second round…there was a tie for 2nd place!
Michael Jenkins and former champion Mitchell Manresa both “ate” five. They split second place cash prize netting them $375 each.
First place, granting him bragging rights for defeating the two-time champion by 2 dogs, went to
“Gentleman Joe Menchetti” downing 7 total. Bestowed upon him is the title of “Top Dog”, $1,000 cash grand prize and of course the coveted winners belt.
Big 105.9’s on-air talent Luke Pirozzoli from the Paul & Young Ron Morning Show acted as MC to keep things moving along and to bring comic relief with the drama of what could have turned into HotDogGate.
Ironically no Hot Dogs were actually sold at the event so my word of advice to Mardi Gras Casino is to perhaps have a stand near by for us viewers to purchase one for ourselves to enjoy, because as strange as it may seem, I began craving one.
When I asked Gentleman Joe what advice he had for anyone who wants to become a competitive eater he said “Continue your education and so something with your brain instead of your belly.”
I thought about those words when I finally ate my hot dog. For the record, it took me three minutes to eat just one. I savored every bite.