Wiener Takes All

(By Chris, Editor in Chief of and the adult writer of the Gab Four. Originally published July 24, 2006, sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt) 

Having made it back safely from a marriage and honeymoon in Niagara Falls, N.Y., I can now look back with sentimentality, knowing that the only aspect that could have made the trip any more enjoyable would have been the presence of 54 hot dogs and Takeru Kobayashi.

Not many individuals would be yearning for a 26-year-old Japanese man who holds the world's record for most hot dogs eaten over a period of 12 minutes to accompany them on their honeymoon. But having watched Kobayashi win the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 for the past six years, I was never closer to watching a man vomit almost seven packages of hot dogs than on our visit to Niagara Falls.

Of course, New York city was still an eight-hour drive away from our hotel, but how often does one get to see a record 53 and three-fourths franks get consumed by one person in less time than it takes for me to buy relish at Wal-Mart?

And this doesn't even take into account that this year's contest featured the debut of American Joey Chestnut (pronounced "CHESS-NUHHHTZ" by my Uncle Buddy), who finished in second place with 52 downed wieners.

Kobayashi's reign began in 2001, when he ate 50 wienies. This was followed by him eating 50 and one half, 44 and one half, 53 and one half and 49, respectively, along with being relentlessly tempted to write hot dog reviews for the local newspaper, before realizing that any adjectives used in association with hot dogs are not appropriate for a family-friendly story.

While talking to her friend on the phone a couple years ago, my mother, trying to get across that my columns were too sophisticated for children, described by stories as "adult humor," quickly followed by me giving her a look of horror. This was before today's hot dog review column, though.

Sensing to understand what would make a foreigner eat such an abundant amount of compressed beef, I demanded that my family start celebrating Independence Day each year by holding our own hot dog eating contest, complete with Nathan's Famous wieners.

What makes Nathan's wieners different is the fact that they are. Do not question me.

The first year was an unmitigated success - one might have even called it a hot dog orgy - as half of those in attendance tied for first place, having downed two apiece.

Having spent this year's Independence Day on my honeymoon, this year's contest was postponed until July 7.

Going grocery shopping that afternoon to get supplies for that evening's contest, I learned that Wal-Mart had stopped carrying Nathan's dogs. This was slightly better news than ascertaining what menudo is after having eaten it.

Having gone to two stores and waded through a crowd of people that had just arrived from the How To Look Incompetent And Get In Your Way training seminar, I was disturbingly close to going on a rampage, yanking hot dog packages off the shelves, throwing them across the store and crying, "Where are they?"

As if my wife needs any reinforcing, we will be returning to New York to personally witness the hot dog contest for our anniversary one year. No ifs, ands or buns.

Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.

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