Last year on July 4th I was glued to the television set, watching the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on ESPN. I mean, I was GLUED to the tv set. Yes, I’m a sick woman. Fascinating that many of the eaters were stick thin. How does that work? I know if you throw up you are eliminated, so this food must be going down, right?
Nathan's is now having the regional qualifying rounds. Last weekend a guy from Chicago, Tim “Gravy” Brown won the Tempe hot dog eating contest by eating 33 hot dogs in ten minutes. This allows him to compete in the National contest on July 4th in New York. Sorry, bud, you have a long way to go before you will place nationally, considering last year the winner ate 66 hot dogs in the same amount of time.
The reason I have included this on my Winning Startups website is because eating hot dogs can actually be a business. The winner of the national contest is featured on television and the news all around the world, gets a $10,000 prize, and even can obtain endorsements. About 1.5 million viewers tuned in during the 2006 competition, and it’s gaining momentum. It’s a big deal, there have even been documentaries and television shows based on this contest:
- A Different Story" (July 4 1996) - Jeannie Moos covers the contest on CNN
- "Red, White, and Yellow" (1998)
- "A Hot Dog Program: An All-American, Culinary Cruise Through Hot Dog History" (1999)
- Gut Busters" (2002) Made for TV - Discovery Channel
- "King of the Hill", "The Fat and the Furious" episode (2002)
- "Footlong" (2002) - not the 2003 short film of the same name
- "The Tsunami - Takeru Kobayashi" (2003) Japanese
- "Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating" (2004)
- "The Most Extreme", "Big Mouths" episode (2004) (Animal Planet)
- "True Life" (2006) MTV documentary series
So if your passion is eating, look no further than becoming a participant in next year's Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest.