of 32" -
We're all fascinated with Takeru
Kobayashi when we went on Man Vs. Beast. We were all fascinated
when he won the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating competition for 5
straight years. So seriously, could this be too far behind?
We are talking about the 2005 Alka-Seltzer U.S. Open of
Competitive Eating. 32 people will be going mano a mano in a
bracket-style tournament. The prize? Money, of course, and the
thrill of beating out the field of America's best eaters, and a
chance of derailing Kobayashi.
Here are the rules for the event - there are 5 rounds. Each
round has a different food (for example, Cheese Fries in Round
1). The objective is too eat more of it than your opponent. You
can't immerse your food in any liquid and a 'Reversal of
Fortune' (aka El Barfo) is an immediate disqualification.
George Shea, of Great American Events (the people who set up
this tournament) will be going over the items for each round.
Round one is, as was mentioned earlier, the cheese fries. Round
2 is Pasta Marinara. Round 3 is Italian Salad. Round 4 is Potato
Skins and Round 5 is the ESPN Zone's Sampler, with enough food
to satisfy a party of 4.
Here are some of the people to be watching -
Kobayashi - The man, the myth, the human garbage disposal.
Sonya Thomas - She finished second to Kobayashi as the hot dog
But first, we'll see the 8th ranked Joey Chestnut (who finished
in third and is the world asparagus eating champion) as he
starts us off against Sam Vise, who has eaten 34 Krystal
Hamburgers in 8 minutes. This is around as gross as you can
imaging two grown men stuffing a mass of cheese and potatoes in
your mouth. Both Vise and Chestnut exchange plates and Vise is
starting to get a huge lead. Chestnut, seeing that Vise is in
the lead, is panicking and starts to stuff the fries in his
mouth. That's not going to do it and the 25th ranked Vise has
the first upset of the day. How did Vise do it? 'I just smashed
them up and ate 'em.' Spoken like a true champion.
We get footage of some of the pairings being announced before we
get to the actual pairing to show up next. That footage features
Paul Hunts against Richard LeFevre, and Randy Harrison drawing
Richard's wife, Carlene LeFevre. Carlene is the Pisole eating
champion and can eat a gallon of chili in 10 minutes. In the
first round, there is no contest. Carlene gets to her second
platter and Randy never finishes his first. When the round ends,
Carlene wipes her mouth and applies make-up to her frame. 3
pounds and 3 ounces worth of cheese fries is good enough for her
Next up - the Corn of the Cob eating champion Joe LaRue, who is
a weightlifter and a banquet chef by trade. He insists in eating
with his bare feet. Oooook. He is a monster and goes up against
Frank Wach. Joe is just munching fries by the handful and he
easily blitzes Wach. He may like his chances in the next round,
as he will take on Vise.
He wants no part of Ed 'Cookie' Jarvis, who set a record at the
Nathan's Fry Eating Championship this year - the same place
where they had the hot dog eating competition. The cheese fries
should be no problem for him and he goes double handed in there
against Ed Taboada Jr. The cookie easily rolls into the second
Then we have our trash talker. Dale Boone, who has been called
anything from the Jeremy Shockey of Professional Eating to an
objectionable human being. Dale looks like a human pit bull as
he decimates Donovan Busta. We almost get a reversal of fortune
from Boone, but he recovers to win it by 2 ounces.
Leon Feingold likes to eat (he is the Corn Beef and Cabbage
Champion) but he also likes too play baseball. Leon plays in the
minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians, and he wants to spring
the upset against ex-football player and coach Jim Reeves. Both
people get a plate exchange, but it looks like Feingold had
enough of an edge to spring that upset. He does, as Feingold
beats Reeves by a slim 2 ounces.
But they are all out to beat Kobayashi, who says that he's
getting better year after year. The numbers don't lie -
Kobayashi has dominated the competition and is looking to add
one more jewel to his crown.
Brian Subich is a Shoo-Fly pie eating champion. He is also a
football coach and claims that eating is just as hard of an
athletic contest as anything else. Brian likes to hang out
with...Dale Boone. Ok, so Brian has a few screws loose. Subich
gets 'Crazy Legs' Conti, a man who likes to wear a coonskin cap
as he eats. It's a very close match and it comes to the scales,
and like Feingold, Subich ekes out the upset by a few ounces.
Subich's opponent for the next round? It could be the third
ranked Rich LeFevre. Rich has a huuuuge mouth and he finishes
the first plate easily . With the match safely in hand, Rich
even encourages his opponent Hall Hunt to finish his plate
before time expires. Hunt does, but LeFevre wins and will get
Subich, who probably didn't want to see Rich as his opponent.
Tim Janus is rookie of the year. But he will not compete as Tim
Janus. Instead, this day trader likes to put on face makeup and
call himself 'Eater X' and crosses his arms in an X before every
competition. No, I am not making this up. His opponent is Carson
Hughes, who's a collared greens specialist and is using the
double handed stuff. The double handed technique doesn't work as
Carson gets stuffed by Eater X, who next has to face off against
We are getting an influx of athletes who want to get into eating
as well. Chris Coble is a swimmer and triathlete. The problem is
that he is taking on a huge monster in the form of Eric
'Badlands' Booker, the #4 seed and a worker for the Metropolitan
Transit Authority in NYC. Eric admits that he hasn't been
performing well, but he's looking to make up for it here. He
puts on a strong start as he hits the first new plate, but Coble
is right behind him and is picking up steam. Can Coble catch
Booker? The winner, by less than 1 ounce, is...Booker, as he
barely hangs on. Coble says that it was a great match, and he's
going to try to be a force to be reckoned with next year.
We get a quick glimpse of Levi Oliver and Alan Goldstein. Oliver
gets the close win, but it may not matter, as he's getting stuck
with Jarvis in the next round.
We only have 2 matches left, and they both feature the top guns.
First up is the #1 seed Kobayashi, who uses a fork against Scott
Sayer. Sayer has no prayer against Nathan's Hot Dog Eating
Champion. Kobayashi gets off 2 plates and just salutes the fans
with 17 seconds to go and with Sayer still on his first plate.
The other powerhouse in this competition is Sonya Thomas, who
comes to us by way of Virginia. She holds world records in 21
different categories and she is looking for another one here.
Kevin Carr is going to be the poor victim as Sonya goes to town.
Sonya's nickname is 'The Black Widow' and she makes Carr one of
Here are the match ups in Round 2 -
Kobayashi Vs. Donahue
R. LeFevre Vs. Subich
Jarvis Vs. Oliver
Koch Vs. C. LeFevre
Thomas Vs. Zhorlinsky
Booker Vs. Feingold
Janus Vs. Boone
LaRue Vs. Vise
Join us in 24 hours as we cut down 16 to 8.