After winning the Ben’s Deli Matzoh Ball Contest I decided to branch out to other food groups “The Nathans Hot dog Contest”
At that moment the sport of competitive Eating was born. Until that time the Nathan’s Hot Dog Contrstsnt stood in their arena and didn’t venture out to other food eating events. The same went for Matzah Ball crowd as they did the same concerning the Matzoh balls. I changed all that… As a champion in one field I took a giant step into the Nathans arena ..yes there was always contests but not a sport.
I went down to my local Nathans and said That I want to be a part of the 4th of July Hot Dog contest .I spoke to the Manager who said this is the number that you should call ”Shea Communications”. I called and Rich Shea answered the phone.I told him who I was ”The Matzoh Ball Champ” and I want in on the Hot Dog Contest ..His reply is just wait till I tell my brother George he wont believe it! I asked what locals can I go to he told me that the contest will start in 2 weeks at the Ducks and Belmont…I said OK!’ this was around late May.
The next day Rich called me back and asked if I can do him a favor and go to the Coney Island promo and I thought it was big honor to be asked to attend. I had yet to qualify but I attended The Coney Island Promo anyway. I couldn’t help to wonder why Rich Shea would to ask me to do him this favor since I never met him before nor have I ever entered any Nathan’s contest before in my entire life.
I looked around and spotted the biggest & Heaviest eater and w up to him and asked for some scoop on the contest..I later found out it was Charles Hardy. I also met Leon Fiengold that day.During the promo it was a 5 hot dog eating contest (The first person to eat their 5 Hot Dogs is the winner).Everyone seemed to have water and was dunking but I didn’t get any water. I was determined to keep up if not beat Hardy ..We tied. As I left my Nephew says to Hardy see you on the fourth and I departed.
I found out a later from an anonymous E-Mailer that if had I not gone to this promo That I could have gone to the Carnegie Deli Pickle contest and competed. From that point on I now no longer viewed my going to the Coney Island Promo that day as an honor. I must had a sign Scotched taped to my forehead that read “Shmuck”.
In any event I’m glad that my then future friend Kevin Lipsitz won the Pickle contest that day .