"It is possible to die from eating. But I think to be professional means you don't die." (Takeru Kobayashi)

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I was poking around Flickr for pictures of this year's Nathan's contest (just search "Nathans" and after the results are tabulated, organize them by "most recent"). It's cool to see the contest from various perspectives -- someone from the press box, someone who got backstage and met the eaters, someone buried deep in the crowd. Here are a few of my favorite shots of this year's action.

George Shea hamming it up. That's so unlike him.
I like how Sonya appears to be swallowed up by an avalanche of Nathan's logos from the back and a wave of Foot Locker employees from the front.
The crowd. Wish I had been part of it. Note the street signs. Surf and Stillwell, of course.

Great picture of Eater X in action and keeping tabs on Kobayashi to his left. This shot would be perfect if not for the Bunnette's arm obscuring George Shea's face.

After cross referencing this shot with my TiVo'd copy of the Nathan's telecast, I've determined that this photo was taken moments after the now infamous reversal and the expiration of the contest. That means the Bunnette's tally of "62" for Koby is grossly inaccurate, which was the case on TV as well. According to USA Today, Koby would eat 65 HDB's but would be discounted two for the reversal.

There's so much happening in this picture. It reminds me of that famous photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald being shot by Jack Ruby. MLE Commissioner Charles Hardy's hands are raised as he mimics Kobayashi's illegal use of hands after the buzzer. I wonder what he's saying? Joey is business as usual. Pat Bertoletti watches Koby like a hawk. George Shea, like approximately 1.5 million Americans watching on TV, looks slightly disgusted. And the Bunnette looks like she'd rather be anywhere but on that stage, holding a sign for a hot dog eating contest. If Liz were that Bunnette, she'd look a lot more enthusiastic (and would probably be giving Kobayashi an earful for illegal use of hands).

Larger version of this photo here.

The champ with, I assume, 66 hot dogs and a one bitchin' trophy.


Blogger Carey said...

I noticed there actually counters in front of all the eaters, including Kokay and Joey, so the bunnettes didn't actually count the totals, just relayed what the actualcounters showed on their cards. They are models, they have to look good AND keep up withthe totals? That is a hard job to do.

9:48 AM

Anonymous Elton Hammerfirst said...

Why is it so unlike George Shea to ham it up? Have you seen him in other contests? I have seen him in many contests more than you can imagine and he loves hearing himself talk regardless of whether he makes a fool of himself or not. And he made a total ass of himself at the Nathans contest.That laughing and giggling on stage made him sound like a mental case. I thought at times he was on drugs. The only problem was that noone told him that.

10:42 AM

Anonymous Philly Guy said...

I know the plate count at the end was kinda off, but Joey has a strange effect. Everyone I know that watched Joey eat, takes eating seriously. This goes from your average drunk to pencil pushers that'd never follow such an event.

11:57 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Elton - Your description of George at Nathan's is funny. I was being sarcastic with my "so unlike him." I've seen his emcee work before, and I agree with you...he can get pretty crazy.

To address Carey's point about inept Bunnette's...they should consider turning over the duties to fan applicants (I wonder if they've thought of that before?).

Or (this would be cool, but probably too expensive), they should place digital displays behind each eater (or at least the top four) that shows the number they've eaten AND adds a little hot dog graphic for each HDB they've eaten. Seeing 30, 40, or 50+ little hot dogs up there would really help put into perspective the awesome amounts of food being eaten.

3:24 PM

Anonymous Mr Unluke' said...

Mr Shofner the next time i go to vegas or AC i want you right next to me when i gamble. Your luck has to be one of a kind. To this day you must hold the record for not getting exposed as a double eating organization competitor. I guess the shea's must have a soft spot for you somewhere or you have great rapport with the CE fans of the world for not ratting you out as of yet

4:12 PM

Anonymous :Philly Guy said...

dave is a perfect I can beat this his type in CE. He brought the carnage that is Carey to the circuit so STFU. He has brought noting but good to CE in gereral. Granted I'd love to see Carey bring 18+ to Nathan's like I know he can. Dave rocks. So shut up or show your face. This year I'm bringing pain to GA, but Carey is the real deal. Doubut him if you will, but he's a great eater.

3:29 AM

Blogger Mega Munch said...

Mr. Unluke, you don't want me in Vegas. My luck at casinos is hit or miss.

For the record, I've never eaten in an AICE event. I've eaten in plenty of local contests though...maybe that's what you're thinking when you say I'm a "double eating organization competitor."

To be honest, I don't have much of a "career" in the IFOCE either. I've only eaten in three events in one year and I'm not even ranked. Based on that, I'd say I'm the unluckiest eater out there! I'd also say that gives me a pretty good reason to try my hand in AICE events, but I haven't.

Am I friends with eaters from other organizations? Sure. AICE guys, like most IFOCE eaters, are good guys and definitely worth getting to know. Bottom line: There's not a lot of people out there who share our slightly geeky love of competitive eating...it's not worth shutting out half of them just because they happen to eat in another "league."

7:05 AM

Blogger Carey said...

Dave, I noticed your great suggestions for the contest, and thought, not only should we use them, but I have commissioned a group of scientists to create a time machine to go back in time to june 1st, created a board like you described, and made the Sheas use it in the Coney Island contest. Yes, those digital displays were expensive. I could only charge four of them on my credit card. We ewre going to go back to using the applicants, but they offered to let me interview the models applying for the contest, so, sorry Liz.

8:06 AM

Blogger Liz said...

Ouch, man!

I love these pics. Mine weren't from the best angle, though I got a couple that I really like.

10:28 PM


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