The Popcorn Stand: We are the champions


I’ve been remiss this week in failing to mention Joey “Jaws” Chestnut continues to maintain American dominance in an All-American sport we should dominate: Hot dog eating.

During Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on Independence Day, Chestnut beat his own record, downing 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes. I say downing because even though it’s called an eating contest, I’m not sure what Chestnut and the other “athletes” do can be called eating.

There was a time when a Japanese competitor (too lazy to even look up his name) embarrassed the good ol’ USA by constantly winning the hot dog eating contest. But Chestnut took care of that. He’s now won the hot dog eating contest 10 times.

Of course rumors swirl every year (actually I really don’t know if rumors swirl) about Chestnut possibly retiring and going off into the mustard-colored sunset. I’m always concerned about the possible retirement of Chestnut, because then I think who’s going to take over for Chestnut and maintain American’s dominance.

It looks like I don’t have to worry because up-and-comer Carmen Cincotti, of Mays Landing, N.J., ate 60 franks and buns on his 24th birthday to finish second. How appropriate would that be. The next American to take over from Chestnut as hot dog eating champion could be a red, white and blue Yankee Doodle Dandy born on the Fourth of July.

While Chestnut looks to still be in his prime, he isn’t getting any younger, so it pleases me to know his heir apparent is just 24 years old.

We Americans love our hot dogs. And we also love our hot dog eating champions.

— Charles Whisnand


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