HAMPTON — Mathew Stonie of Hampton, secured a spot in the inaugural Lobster Roll Eating Challenge at this year’s Hampton Beach Seafood Festival by devouring 13 hotdogs and buns in just 10 minutes.
“I’ve been trying to boost my competitive eating by doing challenges,” said Stonie after he defeated six other contestants during a hot dog eating contest on Tuesday, July 13.
The 120-pounder prepared for the qualifying round over the last couple of months by downing a seven pound pizza, a five pound burrito, and recently took first place in a Huge Sundae Contest.
The contest was second of three held at the 401 Tavern in Hampton to gain entry into the Lobster Roll Eating Contest that will take place on Sept. 11 at 2:30 p.m. on the Seashell Stage.
The top three finishers in each round are automatically entered into the competition at the Seafood Festival, where they will compete along side six celebrities.
The winner of the ultimate showdown will get $600, entry into next year’s competition and the bragging rights.
Also earning a spot Tuesday were Alan Brien of Seabrook, who took second place with eight hot dogs, and Ben Flood of Hampton Falls, who came in third place with seven dogs.
Jude David, chairwoman of the Seafood Festival, said those who want to get into the competition at the festival still have a chance.
The last qualifying round will be held Aug. 17 at 401 Tavern in Hampton at 6 p.m.
“Think you have what it takes? Then prove it,” David said. “Qualifiers are open to those 18 years or older and applications will be taken on-line at http://www.hamptonbeachseafoodfestival.com or at the 401 restaurant.”
David said after the second qualifying round, seven individuals have won spot in the contest with four gaining entry during the first round that was held June 15.
In that round, Joe Menchetti, a professional eater from Wallinford, Conn., took first place, eating 16 hot dogs.
Josh Winkler from Hampton and Bob Gregory from Port Charlotte, Fla. tied for second place, eating 11 dogs and Craig Hansen from Hampton took third with 10.
David said Menchetti appears to be the early frontrunner.
Menchetti has traveled all over the world to compete in major eating events, including the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, held annually in Coney Island, N.Y.
This is the first year the Seafood Festival is hosting a Lobster Eating Roll Competition.