From the time that I started preparing to enter and compete in the Nathans qualifier , from a time span of March 2001 to July 3rd 2001 I ate nothing but 5 – 17 hot dogs and buns a day and would put down 20 plus at the end of the week just to see what I can do , as my sole meal of the day.
Like I said Just 1 meal a day consisting of hot dogs and buns and then I would be done eating for the day. This was dedication , this was determination , this was motivation,. I knew that I couldn’t catch Kazutoyo “The Rabbit” Arai withhis 26 hot dogs and buns or the 2nd place finisher Misao “The Big Banana” Fujita with her 24,my goal was to hit 3rdplace,
I won the Belmont Qualifier with 17 hdb’s early on in the season, I heard that Eric Booker ate 26 hdb’s at the Ducks Ball park , I had my work cut out for me.
During the actual 4th of July contest. The first 8 hot dogs I think that I kept up with kobayashi .like I always say in the first minute of any contest all eyes will be on me as the fastest hands in competitive eating, nobody is close to me in the first minute. Koby was fast he surprised me and everyone . Most eaters were disillusioned from continuing when The announcer called out that Koby is up to 40 hdb’s and they either quit cold or slowed down to a snails pace as they felt it was futile to continue for naught. however I was only trying to catch 3rd place so I pushed on. I was in a zone . I remember My nephew yelling from the sidelines in the crowd , when Koby hit 45 dogs to keep going , He’s bound to throw it up . I persevered on.
As the final bell sounded I hit the Deuce ! The big 20 . I followed the judge in front of me with his tally cards every step of the way as all the eaters did. I took the 20 tally card and held it up for all to see, wow 20 ! The Deuce.
I knew Koby won and aria got 2nd with 31 but what about Booker what did he do after all he hit 26 at the ducks for an American record?.. I asked Sylvia Carter a reporter who did a story on me and was on stage I asked her what did Booker do? She said 19 1/2. Hallelujah I said I beat Booker. Now I make My way to Charles Hardy. I go right over to him and say Charles , how many did you eat ? He shrugs his shoulders as if he doesn’t know I then walked with him off stage where his family was I said again how many? He shrugged his shoulders once again . I said to myself I got third! Because let me tell you when eating the dogs in the contest , there is one thing that every eater is absolutely certain of and that’s thier total with the Tally Cards in right in front of them and nobody did the contest blindfolded. Hardy was a seasoned Nathan’s Hot Dog Contestant and he had to know his tally.
The next thing I see is the rewarding the trophy’s and it was done quietly without much fanfare and Hardy is getting the 3rd place trophy. I was more than surprised I was shocked and dismayed to say the least.
Later that day several eaters told me that he puked it up right after the contest. I as some other eaters question weather he actually hit the deuce. . I knew exactly how many I ate why didn’t he?
For a while I was good soldier and said I can come back next year , but after seeing the numbers people are putting up . I got more & more upset as my chance for glory was now gone .
If it was a french Fry contest that just popped up in lets say a week or so I wouldn’t be that upset … But I ate Hot dogs from March to July everyday as my sole meal and it hurt.
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