Hot Dog Eating Contestants of the World

Adam Grundy
4 min readNov 28, 2019

What goes on in their heads?

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

You’ve seen them. We’ve seen them. Their physician has seen them. The brave men and women of Hot Dog Eating Competitions.

Faces like melted church candles and gullets like pelicans. Every year, returning competitors training themselves to gorge a hundred hot dogs in fifteen minutes, buns and all. Relish? Optional. Water to lubricate their throats? A must!

“His record last year Tony? 72?”

“My my my, he’s got a lot to prove this time!”

“He sure has. To his left, that’s Cassie Novak. Three time divisional champion, two time all-American. She’s the Queen of the Bratwurst and a fan favourite here. She’s 3–1 at this competition and her secret? She says: It’s the mustard.”

The losers collapsing in awe as they watch the eventual winner hoist a slippery dog for one last gulp. Bread in the pond. That lawyer on the toilet in Jurassic Park. It’s like they didn’t even need to chew, remembering at some point they used to enjoy food.

Food is a job now. Food is their keeper. Entering hot dog eating competition after hot dog eating competition on the hunt for first prize. Amateurs are happy just to take part. Semi-pros turn up but “it’s a learning experience”.
But the professionals. The gannits. The bottomless bellies. It’s high-stakes (sometimes actual steaks) with big reward. Top prizes at some Eating Contests can range all the way from a t-shirt to $40,000. Stew on that one for a while, possibly in some brine.

They’re eating to feed their family. They’re shoving the weight of a pig down their gobs at record speed to make sure Chad and Melissa have lunch money for Monday. “Daddy’s coming home kids. Daddy won the big one!” “Can we go watch Frozen 2 Dad?” “Sure baby. Anything for you.” “Can I get a hot dog?”

What happens when the cameras are off and Food Network are showing no interest in a human who can eat their weight in steamed frankfurters? Is it back to reality? Three meals a day, maybe a few cheeky Vimtos at the weekend with the girls? You and the boys, The Originals, day out at the races?

“Number 5: Billy’s Midnight Torment. Number 7: Frankestein’s Last Hurrah. Number 8: Between The Buns”

“That’s you that is” “Sorry?” “Number 8. Between The Buns? Like those hot dogs?” “Oh yeah. Hot dogs.”

What’s it like days afterwards, when the adrenaline of the competition has passed? When do they first eat actual, real food after the event? They’re not still hungry, no way on this planet does that reality exist. Do they just hibernate? Do they kiss their significant other (being kind here) goodbye (“not on the lips, you stink like a Wimpy!”) and hibernate like plump bears for a month? They reached their weekly calorie intake after twenty bites. They could, should, go without food for an extended period.

“Please. No more.” Photo by Peter Secan on Unsplash

Did they even bite? Do these people actually chew their food!?

“To her left, that’s Rod ‘Money’ Fortune Jr. His heroes include St. Lawrence of Rome and Adam Richman”

“But which one’s the patron saint of cooking? Ha ha”

“Ha ha, you’re right there! Could it be his year, do you think?”

“Hard to say — this has been such an incredibly grueling tornement for him and his family. He says, the only way to win is to embrace two things: the light of our Lord Jesus Christ, and a skill for scarfing”

“And for our viewers at home, what is ‘scarfing’?”

“It’s the motion of eating the hot dog and the bun separately. Imagine a tube of flesh slipping down a wet corridor — followed by an avalanche of dough”


Do you reckon a hot dog ever made it out their butt completely in-tact? Or does the skin, without fail, always break apart in the belly? How would they know? I know some of us like to give a quick Gillian McKeith-style once over what’s just been shoved out our arsehole, but it all looks like shit. By law, a hot dog is the shape of a poo. You smudge some bowel-juice on it, how from a distance are they to know the difference between a full hot dog sitting in the toilet and a condensed crap?

Do you reckon after the competition they’re cautiously on the look-out? Not to consume again, there and then, straight from the toilet bowl. Not to create an eternal energy loop of hot dog-to poop-to hot dog. That would be greedy. But that somehow, their body has become so desensitised to the digestion of pig’s trotters/balls/ears/hopes and fears, that it simply refused to work with the brain any more?

The body is weak but the mind is willing, the physician will write a week later, when the patient presents a full hot dog to them, wrapped in clingfilm.

To a professional hot dog eating gladiator, the sausage is their Inspector Javert. Always looking over their shoulder (into the toilet), worried what they’ll see. Hoping to never see the face of a full Weiner smiling back, waiting to be devoured. Again.



Adam Grundy

Creative writing from under a dark cloud. Filmageddon person of interest ( A pro TV watcher (real job). UK-based. Silly.