When you think of the Fourth of July, you typically think of fireworks, parades, and cookouts with burgers and hotdogs. You may have a burger, hotdog, some coleslaw, baked beans, and potato salad. If you have any room left then maybe a few cookies or some festive Fourth of the July themed cupcakes. With all that food, you may need some Alka-Seltzer or a Tums to fight off indigestion and acid-reflux. Not “That Guy.”
For the likes of Cookie Jarvis, Eric “Badlands” Booker, Tim “Eater X” Janus, “Crazy Legs” Conti, Joey Chestnut, and Takeru Kobayashi, they see this as their Super Bowl; they have trained all year for this day. According to the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFCE), here are the records for “typical” Fourth of July fare: 66 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and buns in 12 minutes, 7 “thick-burgers” (3/4 pound) in 10 minutes, 6 pounds of baked beans in 1 minute (or 8.4 pounds of baked beans in 2 minutes 47 seconds), 13.22 pounds of watermelon in 15 minutes, and 5 pounds of (birthday) cake in 11 minutes 26 seconds.
Once considered “the sport of kings,” small children at county fairs and long-haul truckers were revered for their eating ability. However, the IFCE and Nathan’s Hot Dogs have made gluttony and excess a family friendly event. Competitive eating has even been embraced by the video game world with Major League Eating: The Game. Nothing promotes good nutrition and overall health especially in children like a video game where you try to break the record of 4 32-ounce bowls of mayonnaise in 8 minutes (yes, this really is a record).
Some call them warriors, gladiators, and athletes; others call them gluttons. We say there’s nothing more American than eating 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. You go get the Mustard Yellow Belt from the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island “That Guy.”