The Fourth of July holiday has come and gone this year. It was a time for barbecue, hot dogs, iced tea, beer, and fireworks. It is the (arguably incorrect) day that we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I suppose if you were a slave in pre-1865 America, you might view the “All Men Are Created Equal” sentence as ironic, to say the least. To this day, many native Americans are wary of the celebration for reasons that I need not enunciate here.
My favorite part of the Fourth of July is Nathan’s hot dog eating contest held at Coney Island, New York. As far as gobble-fests go, this is the best. I have followed the beef patty competition as well as the pumpkin pie and the meatball contests for years now. Those are all fine and dandy but nothing compares to the hot dog challenge put on by Nathan’s. Although I have never personally attended any of these competitions, I have avidly followed them on the local and national news as well as through internet sources.
Here in Charleston, South Carolina I watched the TV-4 and the TV-5 segments on this event and have to note that, if this were a broadcast contest, TV-4 won. I was really surprised by this. Usually TV-5 is far ahead of the competition when it comes to the local infotainment wars. I only have one word for their recent hot dog report: LAME! I say this because: 1) Unlike TV-4, they did not even mention Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas, the winner in the women’s division, 2) The TV-4 report was longer and featured more close ups of the gobble fest.
Of course, both stations reported on the men’s division winner, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who tied his 2009 record of 68 hot dogs eaten in ten minutes.
Even though WCIV bested their competition, I can only give them a C minus for their coverage. TV-5 gets a solid F. The reason I give these low scores is that neither station saw fit to report on the conflict between former hot dog champ Takeru Kobayashi and Major League Eating (MLE), the organization that sponsors the world famous event. Mr.Kobayashi, who prefers to be called Kobi, won the competition from 2001-2006 but has been banned from the Nathan’s contest by MLE because he refused to sign an exclusive contract which would have limited his earning by restricting his participation in other eating contests. He was arrested in 2010 after he stormed the stage of the Nathan’s event while wearing a “Free Kobi” t-shirt. Nathan’s went so far as to remove his picture from their hot dog eating hall of fame…insult piled on injury.
While the event was going on at Coney Island, Kobi held an alternate solo event near his home in the East Village. This year he consumed 69 hot dogs…besting Joey by one. I guess we all know who the real winner is…
I won’t go into the details of this conflict. If you wish to educate yourself click this link
I am on Kobi’s side. If I were him I would be angry as well. Put me in charge of infotainment at one of our local TV stations and I would start a crusade to tell the inside story surrounding competitive hot dog eating. Lets all hope that TV-4 and TV-5 will do a more accurate, in-depth report next year. The public needs to know the truth!