Before you read this post, let me tell you something. I love hotdogs. I am obsessed with hotdogs. I was a vegetarian for 12 long years and the meat that I missed was hotdogs. My craving turned into obsession when I worked at Merge. I think that everyone in the office loved hotdogs. On a very regular basis, someone in the office would make a hotdog run to Squeaky's up at NCNB Plaza on Franklin Street. In 1999, we gave our ten-year anniversary compilation called Oh, Merge the subtitle Sexy Panties and Hotdogs. Fans mailed us weird hotdog-themed items such as odd photographs, whistles and squirtguns. We loved it.
Today, my obsession (aka sickness) for the beloved frankfurter was rekindled. Despite the sunburn and Skip being sick (I hope you're feeling better!), today was an amazing day. Chris, Germaine and I took a trip to Charlotte to see an IFOCE-sanctioned National Hotdog Eating Contest Qualifier. As I am sure that everyone reading this knows, there is a huge event on the corner of Surf and Stillwell at Coney Island every Fourth of July: Nathan's National Hotdog Eating Contest. In order to compete at this event that is now broadcast on ESPN, you must win one of the qualifying events. Today marked North Carolina's first ever qualifier.
Germaine was asked by the IFOCE [International Federation of Competitive Eating] to film the contest. She shot some amazing footage and I cannot wait to see it. Rich Shea (one of the masterminds behind this whole marketing scheme that is called the IFOCE) was really nice and told the two of us to go wherever we wanted for the event. We could go backstage, in front of the stage, even ON STAGE during the event. I shot alot of great pictures. But who the heck is that Sonya poseur on the right?
That guy in the middle, Hal Hunt, or as Rich Shea says "the Faith-Based Eater" won with 28.75 HDB (hotdogs with buns) which is less than half of the world record holder, Joey Chestnut. The Sonya Poseur only downed 28. But Hal had Jesus on his side. He prays before each event. He even prayed when Skip, Germaine and I saw him win a grilled cheese sandwich eating contest at the NC State Fair in 2005. (That's him sitting and praying on the far right in the photo below.)
Rich is going to send me some t-shirts and VIP PASSES to the big daddy event on July 4th at Coney Island. This will be my fifth year making the pilgrimage to Nathan's. I am so excited. It's gonna be freakin' HUGE. I have to get my signs ready. I'm still rootin' for Sonya Thomas, as the black widow of the gurgitators will alway be #1 on my list. But I want Joey Chestnut to beat that pompous punk Kobayashi.