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Hot dogs, cold shrimps

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted December 18, 2013
val wins
A dream come true: Val's off to Nathan's. © Nathan Biller's girlfriend

Aaron 'A-Train' Osthoff and Val Bromann are through to next year's Nathan's while Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut sets monster new shrimp record in seriously tits-freezing-off conditions.

Bloody Nora!

It's not even Chrimbo yet and already it's Nathan's time!

Yeah, you heard me.

Put down that turkey leg right this minute and get your hot dogs and buns (HDBs) out because Aaron 'A-train' Osthoff has just won his place at next year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The man who dispatched 31 HDBs to tie for sixth at the 2013 gobathon of gobathons achieved this feat by necking a total of 27 HDBs in 10 minutes at the first qualifier of the 2014 campaign staged this past Saturday (14/12/13) at Bally's Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, which, as you may recall, was also the setting for the inaugural World Twinkie Eating Championship this past October.

Clearly, the folks down there love to watch a bit of clock-based grub bashing.

And who can blame them?

Certainly not big-time competitive eating fan, photographer and travel blogger Val Bromann who, having previously traversed the States and the globe to snap the planet's gurgitatory greats in action, has now bagged a seat for herself at Coney Island, Noi Yoik, winning her female place mat unopposed with 5.75 HDBs in her belly at the bell.

Meanwhile, 'Nasty' Nate Biller shoved 18 dogs down his gob at this Major League Eating- (MLE) sanctioned chowdown, ahead of Ronnie 'MegaByte' Hartman, who boshed 17.

hot dog eating
Hot dogs are go! The chompers get chomping. © Nathan Biller's girlfriend

"It feels great to qualify for my fourth straight year, and to have it out of the way this early feels even better," A-Train exclusively twitterises the Rake & Herald.

"Nate's, Ronnie's and my totals were down but a win is a win so I can't complain."

"I had plenty of room left so I know I'll be over 30 hot dogs at the finals."

But what about the globe-trotting überfan and supersnapper?

"I'm a much better photographer than I am an eater," Val exclusively facebookates the Rake & Herald.

"But ever since they separated the hot dog eating contest into men's and women's divisions, I've dreamed of getting up there on the Fourth of July."

"It will be an honour to just be on stage."

"I did about how I thought I'd do in the qualifier."

"I had hoped to make it to 10 but knew that was a lofty goal."

"I was expecting to eat about five and managed to just sneak past that number."

"I was planning on trying to qualify [for] next year, but thought I would have until June to get ready."

"But when I heard about this contest in Tunica, and knew I'd be back in the States for it, I jumped at the chance."

"So I didn't have any time to train."

"I just lucked out that I was the only woman competing, so I kind of won by default."

"My biggest goal was to not puke."

As avid readers and staunch supporters of Val's top-notch blog, we here at the Rake & Herald are well bloody chuffed for her.

In fact, we'll be running a full interview with her shortly, so lock down your aerial and stay tuned for more words from Val shortly.

Sadly, though, not everybody left the table in Tunica feeling quite so happy.

"My performance wasn't what I was expecting," MegaByte, who scalped 22 HDBs at the 2013 final, exclusively reveals to the Rake & Herald via that there Twitter malarkey.

"Like, I'm really confused, I ate 16 in my first contest and only did 17 [on Saturday]."

"Normally my numbers go up, but not this time, so I'm very disappointed in my performance."

But while he may be down, this serving US soldier with ambitions of cracking the professional wrestling circuit is certainly not giving up the ghost just yet.

"You bet you'll see me at another qualifier," he affirms.

"To my understanding you can only do three a year, so me and Nate are walking around with one strike."

"I'm going to put myself in position to win a qualifier and hopefully avoid going to a qualifier where the winner eats 35+."

"Getting to hang out with A-train, Val and Nate was pretty cool."

"Being in front of the crowd was amazing and I actually got called by my nickname, MegaByte."

"Bally's did a great job of hosting the event and [MLE emcee Sam Barclay] was on point like always."

"I look forward to my next contest and my next qualifier."

"I will qualify this year!"

And with that attitude, we're pretty damn sure he will as well.

Go get 'em, MegaByte!

united shrimp eaters
United in shrimps: Yasir Salem, Matthew Raible, CLC and Mmm Mmm. © Big City Photography

But from hot dogs, we now turn to shrimp in horseradish sauce and the similarly MLE-sanctioned World Famous St Elmo Shrimp Cocktail-Eating Championship – Located At The Meijer Tail Greater Party On Georgia St that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana the previous weekend (7/12/13) and which we disgracefully failed to cover on account of us being ripped off our tits on cheap chupitos.

Not that our alcohol binge had much of an effect on the outcome, with Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut winning a golden grand (£615) in no uncertain terms by cramming 9.25 lbs (4.2 kg) of cocktail crustaceans down his craw in 8 minutes flat, smashing the previous world record of 4 lbs with a hammer the size of Hammersmith and then rubbing the knackered little shards that remained into the carpet with his boot of glory as though he were a man dispatching a dog end with the world's biggest Reading Hoover.

But Jaws' heady haul of succulent shrimp wasn't the only record recorded that day.

Oh no siree, Bob, for not only did the outdoor event, staged in conjunction with the Big Ten Football Championship, whatever that is, boast the longest title in MLE history, but, as the ever excellent Eat Feats notes, it was also quite possibly the coldest MLE gobathon to date, with the eaters enduring temperatures as low as 25°F (-4°C), something that any metallurgical meteorologist with a passion for primates could tell you is majorly more than enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

"It was a bit on the f--king miserably cold side," official Rake & Herald reporter and Rutles fan Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode, who placed fifth with 3 lbs of shrimp down his north, exclusively reports for the Rake & Herald via the Book of Face.

"I'm used to the cold but I don't think any of us really took the weather into effect for preparations."

"How can you?"

"By the end of the contest I think all the eaters were covered in cocktail sauce and snot from the horseradish."

"I think cold did play a factor," Crazy Legs Conti (CLC), who took home $300 for his bronze-winning engobulation of 4.25 lbs, exclusively emailifies the Rake & Herald in an exclusive email via email.

"It was like trying to swim through molasses."

"You couldn't really feel your body, but you knew sense memory would carry you through."

"I was happy with third place and covering my travel costs but I think I could have done more."

"The shrimp was delicious but dense and I couldn't tell if I should stuff a lot in or go piece by piece."

"I still don't know."

"The St Elmo's Cocktail Sauce is no joke."

"I don't know how they settled on their horseradish ratio, but it is distinctive."

"I had enough shrimp in my belly that the horseradish behaved, but I did feel a few kicks."

"Or perhaps I am a few months pregnant."

"It was a great contest – wonderful sponsor, amazing crowd, good tasting food."

"I think Joey is capable of 12 lbs in this discipline and if [Tim 'Eater X' Janus] or [Matt 'Megatoad' Stonie] show up next year (which they likely will) he will be pushed to break his record."

Keep your eyes peeled for a full interview with the legendary CLC that will be appearing here on the Rake & Herald round about the same time as the one with Val, viz just as soon as we pull our fingers out our arses and start doing some bloody work for a change.

So in a few days or weeks or something.

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life, as Humphrey Bogart might've put it.

Or not.

F--k knows.

Anyway, at this point in proceedings, I should by rights hand over the mic to Rake & Herald fashion editor and self-appointed competitive eating pundit Kok Wang, but as he's currently on his stag do, pissing it up with a load of strippers in some Hollow Earth norks-out joint in preparation for me and him's upcoming wedding, I can't.

So I won't.

Instead, I'll just give you the as-full-as-we-can-work-out results based on what we copied and pasted from the MLE Twitter feed and website.

Sounds fair to me and if you don't like it, you can ram it up your Ronson, can't you?

First Nathan's Qualifier, Tunica, Mississippi (14/12/13)

1) Aaron 'A-Train' Osthoff (27 HDBs in 10 minutes; Men's Seat, Coney Island, July 4);

2) 'Nasty' Nate Biller (18);

3) Ronnie 'MegaByte' Hartman (17); and

4(?)) Val Bromann (5.75; Women's Seat, Coney Island, July 4).

The World Famous St Elmo Shrimp Cocktail-Eating Championship – Located At The Meijer Tail Greater Party On Georgia St, Indianapolis, Indiana (7/12/13)

1) Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut (9.25 lbs of shrimp cocktail in 8 minutes; $1,000);

2) Yasir Salem (5; $500);

3) Crazy Legs Conti (4.25; $300);

4) Matthew Raible (4; $200);

5) Tracy 'Mmm Mmm' Goode (3); and

6) Craig 'the Doctor' Evans (2).

Apologies for not knowing the names of everyone who took part in the Nathan's qualifier but, alas, such is life.

Deal with it!

That said, monumentally massive salutes and congratulations to all who competed, emceed or had a hand in either of the two contests in any way whatsoever.

Huge, huge thanks as well to A-Train, Val, MegaByte, Mmm Mmm and CLC for their exclusive quotes.

Respect to you all!

Remember, stay tuned for our upcoming interview pieces with Val and CLC and, of course, the event you've all been waiting for: the announcement of the Rake & Herald Rookie of the Year 2013 Award.

In the meantime, here's that flippin' freezing shrimp feasting fest, courtesy of the Indianapolis Star.

Get 'em down yer!

Right, gotta go.

Gus King's making Kok and me's wedding cake and he wants to know if I want Spam or baked beans in it.

What a f--king cretin.

Both, of course!

See also Happy birthday, Jaws!, posted 25/11/13.

To fully understand why Sandi and Kok are getting married, make sure you read Twinkies and brats, posted 1/11/13. Meanwhile, to learn more about the Hollow Earth itself, have a read of The Hollow Earth revisited, posted 17/1/13.

Do you like our Sandi's scribblings? If so, why not befriend her on that FaceBook thing? We don't let her out much, see, preferring instead to shackle her to her desk inside an indestructible cage (it's actually a Perspex box with a couple of air holes stabbed into it with a chisel). As such, she's terribly lonely and unloved. Please find it in your heart to help her before her constant whining drives us to kill her with a sharpened curtain rod. Remember, Sandi's life is in YOUR hands so get 'friending', or whatever the trendy modern verb is. Please. She's just started crying again.

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