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Nathan's tomorrow, mind

By editorial assistant Sandi Toxic

Posted July 04, 2013
joey chestnut at the nathan's weigh-in
Get ready to rumble: The 2013 Nathan's weigh-in yesterday. © MLE

It's July 4 tomorrow and that can only mean one thing: Nathan's!

If, like Rake & Herald film editor Gert Stonkers, you've just returned from a nine-month stint on another planet after ill-advisedly mooning your arse at a passing UFO, you might be forgiven for not realising that tomorrow is July 4.

Not only does this day mark the anniversary of the UK's rather generous decision to very kindly grant the US independence – it's OK, guys, you don't need to thank us – but it's also the biggest damn day in the whole damn competitive eating calendar.

That's right.

It's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest tomorrow!

So if, unlike us, you're one of the lucky 40,000 able to make it to the corner of Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island, Noi Yoik or, again unlike us, you can watch it on the box or over interweb (details here), what can you expect to see?

"The public will likely witness history as Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut seems focused and prepared to win his seventh straight Mustard Yellow Belt," Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating (MLE), which sanctions the 10-minute all-you-can-eat gobathon of gobathons, exclusively tells the Rake & Herald via email.

"This has never been done before, so whether or not the 68 [hot dogs and buns (HDBs) Jaws ate to set a world record in 2009 and which he equalled last year] is eclipsed may be a secondary story."

But what about his two main rivals for the Men's title, Tim 'Eater X' Janus, who last year placed second with 52.25 HDBs, and Matt 'Megatoad' Stonie, who came fourth with 46?

"I think, oddly, that Matt Stonie, who downed 47 in Boston this year, is more likely to play the upset," he continues.

"That assumes he was playing possum in Boston and has something up his sleeve."

Like a giant dog-eating toad, perhaps.

Who knows but our guess is we'll soon find out.

This year's veritable FA Cup of competitive eating will also see a number of new faces stuffing their, er, faces on the hallowed Nathan's stage.

Appearing at the event for the first time, Marcos 'the Monster' Owens and Juan 'More Bite' Rodriguez will be joined by recent MLE signings Pablo 'Pabs' Martinez and Jeff 'the Beast Man' Butler.

"[It's been an] active year in the talent department," Richard says.

"Both men [Pabs and the Beast Man] are great eaters and seem highly engaged."

"I imagine their eyes will be opened by the huge crowds in Coney."

And no doubt they will.

However, one big name that won't be up there scoffing dogs like nobody's business is Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti.

Having won bronze in 2012 with a total engorgement of 51 HDBs while wearing a pair of swimming togs (something forbidden this year), the Rake & Herald's favourite unicorn enthusiast has sadly now departed the MLE fold.

"Pat had many great performances in Coney Island," Richard says, adding that "MLE has mad respect for the guy".

But it isn't just Deep Dish who won't be there.

I refer, of course, to Miki Sudo, who up until incredibly recently looked all set to give current Women's title holder Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas a right royal run for her money.

the lovely juliet lee
Julie Etley? The Lovely looking particularly lovely a few years back. © MLE

At press time, there were still many question marks hanging over Miki's decision "to sit out the competition on the fourth", as she exclusively put it in an email to the Rake & Herald on Monday (1/7/13).

As a family website probably not suitable for people under the age of 18, the Rake & Herald refuses to sink to the depths of the gutter journalism we ultimately aspire to and thus eschews the opportunity to further fan the flames of controversy with idle speculation as to her motives.

However, we can tell you that we have now ruled out spontaneous human combustion and subatomic monkeys as possible reasons for her sudden and shocking withdrawal.

So what's MLE's take on the matter?

Well, f--k knows because Richard chose not to furnish us with any specifics.

Mind you, he did state: "Miki has a very promising future in our sport and I think she may well dominate at the Hooters Final and many other events this year and next."

Read into that what you will, but like I say, we can state with almost 100% certainty that macaques the size of muons are not to blame even if every bone in your body tells you otherwise.

Certainly, with Miki, in her own words, "cheering on [her] fellow eaters" as opposed to going hell to leather to outscoff them at this year's Women's mouth mêlée, the path now appears pretty clear for the Black Widow to notch up her third successive victory.

"Sonya is celebrated all over the world and she's earned each and every accolade," Richard says.

"She's the finest female eater in the history of the game – her records speak to that."

"She should be comfortable on the Nathan's stage."

But that doesn't mean she won't face stiff competition.

For example, last year's silver medallist, 'the Lovely' Juliet Lee, or Julie Etley, as the New York Post seems to think she's called (hat tip to the excellent Eat Feats for that one), will no doubt be pulling out all the stops to stuff her gob big time come the big day.

Furthermore, Women's wild card winner Michelle 'Cardboard Shell' Lesco, who last year placed third, has been on cracking form of late, outeating both the Black Widow and Jaws in Indian tacos and ribs, respectively.

"Lesco and Lee are awesome and anything is possible," Richard notes.

"That said, many fans seem to think Sonya is just too good at hot dogs [to lose]."

And given that last year she scoffed 45 of them to set a new world record compared to the Lovely's 33 HDBs and Cardboard Shell's 25.5, they may well have a point.

Of course, the aforementioned gurgitators won't be the only alimentary athletes looking to lift the laurels and walk away with the $10,000 (£6,546) top prizes, or however much it is they're paying out this year.

Oh no siree, Bob.

For this past Saturday (29/6/13), rap sensation and radio host Eric 'Badlands' Booker won through to the Men's table with a gut count of 28.5 HDBs at the State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, while Terri Reeves, the wife of 'Buffalo' Jim Reeves, secured her Women's place by sacrfing down eight.

On that very same day over at Citi Field in Queens, Noi Yoik, where the Noi Yoik Mets play some kind of cricket-like game, the other of this year's two final qualifiers saw Eater X notching up the 2013 competition's highest belly bounty so far when he gracefully guzzled his way through 50 sausage-in-a-bun things.

At the same time and in very close proximity, Prudence Di Benedetto ingested five (or six, according to Eat Feats) HDBs to take her place among Thursday's female elect.

Sadly, we don't have any exclusive quotes from Saturday's mandible matches as such for you, our beloved and cherished readers, but we can confirm that Eater X is a very well-mannered young man, for when we congratulated him on his win he exclusively tweeted back: "Thanks!"

Which was nice of him.

Cheers, Eater X.

Anyway, here are the results as far as we can gather based on the MLE Twitter feed, Eat Feats and information supplied to Eat Feats by Buffalo and Andrew Kossuth.


1) Eric 'Badlands' Booker (28.5 HDBs in 10 minutes; Men's Seat, Coney Island, July 4);

2) Kevin 'LA Beast' Strahle (24.33333333333333333333333333333333333333);

3) 'Buffalo' Jim Reeves (24);

4) Ronnie 'Mega Byte' Hartman (23.5);

5) Crazy Legs Conti (22);

6) Basil Elamir (18);

=7) Tommy DeVito (15.25);

=7) William 'Wild Bill' Myers (15.25);

9) Jordan Rothman (12);

10) Kevin Sekulic (11);

11) Terri Reeves (8; Women's Seat, Coney Island, July 4); and

12) Dan Mangiapane (7.5).


1) Tim 'Eater X' Janus (50 HDBs in 10 minutes; Men's Seat, Coney Island, July 4); and

Placement unknown) Prudence Di Benedetto (5 (or maybe 6); Women's Seat, Coney Island, July 4).

As you can see, we don't really know too much about the Noi Yoik qualifier other than roughly where it was held and who won it.


Still, what we can tell you is that despite Tom 'Goose' Gilbert eating 31 HDBs at the Las Vegas qualifier, the Men's wild card has now been awarded to Erik 'the Red' Denmark, who wolfed down 27.5 at that very same event.

Precisely why this decision was made, to us at least, remains a mystery.

We did ask MLE about it but they didn't give us an answer.

Subatomic monkeys have not been ruled out in this instance.

Whatever the reasoning, though, one thing is for sure: Nathan's had better cook up some extra dogs tomorrow because MLE has now announced over Twitter that Ronnie 'Mega Byte' Hartman, a serving member of the US armed forces, will also take part in the chomping as an "honored military contestant".

Honestly, how can people across the Pond possibly spell 'honoured' without a U?

Don't they play Scrabble over there?

Can't they see that they're selling themselves short of a whole point every time they spell it that way?

Three if you get it on the right square.

Trust me, you wouldn't get such sloppy spelling if we still ruled the roost.

But I digress.

Happy Independence Day for tomorrow, by the way.

With both Miki and Molly Shuyler, the outright winners of, respectively, the Las Vegas and St Paul, Minnesota heats with gut counts of 40 and 31 apiece, this year's Nathan's will, as Eat Feats notes, be devoid of the two highest-scoring female qualifiers (as in people not events).

As a result, we're not sure exactly who will be taking on the Black Widow tomorrow but the line-up should or could include Mary 'I Love 'Em Hot!' Bowers, Meredith 'Deep-Fried Diva' Boxberger, Prudence, Christina Ginn, the Lovely, Cardboard Shell, Dee 'Princess Pi-Anna' Martin, Larell Marie 'the Real Deal' Mele, Neslie Ricasa, Terri and Laura Riehman.

As for the Men's, Jaws should find himself up against Badlands, the Beast Man, Pete 'Pretty Boy' Davekos, Erik the Red, Mega Byte, Eater X, Pabs, Adrian 'the Rabbit' Morgan, Aaron 'A-Train' Osthoff, the Monster, More Bite, Yasir Salem, Bob 'Notorious B.O.B.' Shoudt and Megatoad.

Good luck to each and every one of them, we say.

We're just gutted that neither Molly nor Miki will be there.

Ah well, what can you do?

Well, I could hand over the mic to Rake & Herald fashion editor, London cabbie and self-appointed competitive eating pundit Kok 'Nobhead' Wang.

However, as he is currently busy taking pot shots at the armed cops besieging the office, I shan't.

Plus, I really couldn't give a toss what that loathsome cock robin has to say.

Instead, to get you in the mood for tomorrow's digestional gymnastics, here's some footage of Badlands winning the East Rutherford qualifier followed by last year's Men's Final.

While the former is taken from the State Fair Meadowlands' YouTube channel, the latter is embedded via Right Sightings' one.

For f--k's sake, Kok, keep it down.

I wanna watch this.

[Piss off, Sandi. I'm trying to plug that sergeant with the MP5 and he's a right tricky bugger, I can tell ya. I know, bung us that M79 grenade launcher, will ya?]


Get it yourself, you lazy dickwad.


Right, gotta go.

Gert's been on the blower to his alien mates.

Reckons they'll be here any minute and the fuzz won't know what hit 'em.

Independence Day?

Too bloody right!

See also Update: Miki out of Nathan's, posted 1/7/13.

To fully understand why armed police are currently besieging the office, make sure you read Personal bests galore, posted 25/6/13.

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.

NB. This article was first posted on the old R&H 3/7/13 and not 4/7/13 as stated above.

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