This picture is driving me crazy. The trophy is backwards. Ugh! Other than that minor detail, I've been on a week long high. This is the very first trophy I've earned in my 35 years, and I've taken to obnoxiously referring to myself as an "athlete." At this point, I think everyone that knows me is tired of hearing about hot dogs, but I really don't give a bun. Why, because with a little bit of hard work, and sheer luck, I won the Vallejo, CA Nathan's Hot Dog Qualifier. Not just that, but you can see in my last post that I got to meet the great Kobayashi. Guess who I got to meet in California?
That's right, I met the man who beat Kobayashi, and is the current champ of competitive eating (according to Major League Eating), Joey Chestnut! He kindly took this picture with me, and even offered some unsolicited eating advice, which I greatly appreciated. He, of course, was not competing. Being from Vallejo, he showed up to exhibition, and as he put it, "It's good practice." Eating at the table with Joey is almost laughable. He ate 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. To put that in perspective, the leading male competitor, Steven Hendry, ate 28.
Here I am, with Steve, and legendary Emcee Sam Barclay. Interesting bit about Sam, I showed really early to check-in for the contest, and he was happy to discuss all the details of the contest with me prior, including whether I could bring my diet coke on stage or not. He said it was very unusual that I would use diet coke. I get it, the carbonation seems like a bad idea, but it helps me burp, and that makes more room. Sam also shared with me that I would be competing with Mary Bowers. I knew this from Twitter, but the piece I didn't know till Sam told me, was that we were the only women competing that day. This was good news for me. Mary is a fan favorite, but I knew from practice that I could eat more hot dogs than she ever had on stage. Mary is known for her sense of style, and I immediately recognized her when she arrived. Sadly, I didn't get to meet her, she was pretty focused on listening to whatever was playing on her headphones, and getting into the zone.
Oh! I almost forgot a crucial piece to this post. I got to meet Max Carnage! He's an eater from Oregon, and the reason I even registered for this qualifier. He was so encouraging, and we've been messaging back and forth for over a month. He really pushed me to regularly train. His messages motivated me to train when I really didn't want to, because I couldn't bear to tell him that I hadn't. He also gave me a lot of great details about what the qualifier would be like. Funny thing about Max Carnage, Sam told me he hates it when eaters use grape flavoring in their water because of the standard announcer white shirt. I told Max Carnage this; he smiled and said, "that's why I do it."
Ok, so actual details, I won with 14.5 hot dogs and buns. It's not amazing. Miki Sudo has eaten 41, but I am the leading female rookie of the year, which is kind of cool. I beat Mary Bowers. I feel slightly bad about this because I know she had been to at least one qualifier this year, and lost, and she's a staple in the Major League Eating world. She also sent out an apology tweet to her fans, and I know Steve Hendry's wife is a Mary supporter, because she was yelling encouragement at her the entire 10 minutes. I feel a bit awkward about this, but I did force my husband and kids to drive 14 hours one-way, and then back again so I could eat hot dogs. At that point I was in it to win it, and Mary ate 12 hot dogs! That's her personal best.
I'm so excited for the 4th. I'm grateful for my super supportive family, and I'm grateful to Wayne Algenio and Max Carnage for their tips and tricks.
My hubby took this video live. It freezes up a bit in the beginning. You can skip to about 10-11 minutes to avoid this torture.
I can count on one hand the foods I dislike, and I'll typically even eat those. Typically frugal, but I'll pay top dollar for an amazing/unique dining experience. Never passed up a free meal, which has led me to become the #36 ranked eater in Major League Eating. July 4th, 2020 will be my third time competing in the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest at Coney Island. I've been on ESPN. That's right people, I'm an athlete.