In honor of one of the July 4th traditions, Dustin takes a look at the 2012 Nathan’s Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest and what it means for our country.
Today we celebrate and show our patriotism. We stand together and united, proud to be Americans because today; Joey Chestnut once again retained the Yellow-Mustard Belt in the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Marking his sixth consecutive victory, Chestnut devoured 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, dominating the contest as second place finisher Tim Janus only ate a paltry 52.
With Chestnut’s main rival, Takeru Kobayashi, failing to compete once again, it was almost all but certain that Chestnut would emerge the winner.
For some reason though, that didn’t matter. Watching it today, I was shocked by the level of spectacle competitive eating has become. Each eater got their own entrance music and an announcer who pumped up the crowd (side note: please, see how much you can watch of this introduction video and just take it all in) to cheer on these guys who, all credit to them, really owned the moments they were given.
Critics say it’s sickening to glamorize competitive eating when we as Americans are facing a heavy battle with nationwide obesity, not to mention the image something like this can give off to the underprivileged and third-world nations in dire need, but that’s just looking too far into it.
The Fourth of July is a holiday long thought of as a chance for families to get together and enjoy company and “America”-esque food like hot dogs and hamburgers while we take a minute to remember that if a few different decisions had been made and things gone a little different, we could be speaking with British accents right now.
When Kobayashi was the reigning champion of the contest, Chestnut embodied the underdog, and we wanted to see him defeat Kobayashi, because if anything, eating is what many think Americans are best at, so losing, on the Fourth of July in a hot dog eating contest almost seemed humiliating to us.
Now he has disappeared and Chestnut has been established as the premiere eater in the country and everything seems a little bit better because at least on July 4th, we can take a second and be brought together and reminded of how lucky we are to live in a country where even a man who eats 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes can be a hero.
Dustin Brewer is a writer/editor-in-chief for hefferbrew.wordpress.com/hefferbrew.tumblr.com. He watched all 60 minutes of ESPN coverage devoted to the contest this morning and promptly saluted when it was all said and done. Happy Fourth of July everybody.