10 Insane Eating Contests for Independence Day

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Participating in a good eating contest is a great way to celebrate the abundant resources we're afforded here in America, the greatest, most gluttonous nation on Earth. Even if you can't stomach three dozen hotdogs, it's fun to watch someone else do it, especially when it's a muscular 5'8, 128-pound Japanese man nicknamed "The Tsunami." Whether you're pro, amateur or spectator, you're bound to enjoy the following events held throughout the country. Note: participation in these contests is definitely not encouraged by medical professionals.

  1. Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest — Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York

    Yet another milestone has been reached in the feminist movement — or perhaps a major setback has occurred. After pressure from some (misguided?) female fans, Nathan's has added a female-only division for its contest starting in 2011. Some competitive eating fans, however, are disappointed that the women won't have the opportunity to challenge the men. In the past, top female eaters Juliet Lee and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas have out-masticated their usually huskier, testosterone-laden counterparts. One day, hopefully, when the older generation has passed and our kids are running the world, Nathan's will permit men and women to eat together.

  2. The Star Spangled STOP BURGER Eating Contest — Weston, Florida

    While the pro's pros earn their keep at Nathan's, regular schmos attempt to carve their reputations in the local circuits, competing in events such as this one. The objective is simple — eat more STOP BURGERS (all caps, scary!) than your opponents in 10 minutes, and win $2,500, money that can go toward extinguishing the massive heartburn you'll suffer afterward. Viewers of TV programs such as Man v. Food are familiar with the rigors of burger eating contests, which are a bit more challenging than hot dog eating contests because of the large quantities of greasy red meat.

  3. Rockford RiverHawks' Fourth of July Eating Contest — Loves Park, Illinois

    Attending a minor league baseball game in small town America is a quintessential Fourth of July activity. Toss in some unbridled gluttony, and Uncle Sam may have a stroke — literally. The Rockford Riverhawks, a cellar dwelling member of the Frontier League, are attempting to add some excitement to their July 4th game by conducting a hot dog eating contest featuring a $500 cash prize. Twenty contestants will attempt to devour 20 hotdogs in the least amount of time — 20 may seem like nothing compared to what Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut eat, but can you eat one hot dog per minute on any occasion?

  4. Fourth of July Corn Dog Bite Eating Contest — Austin, Texas

    Who doesn't like corn dog bites (mini corn dogs to some)? Before all politicians, companies, and parents began preaching health conscious mumbo jumbo, an entire generation of kids grew up eating this stuff in school cafeterias. So there's bound to be a few big-bellied 20-somethings ready to compete — you know, the guys and gals who ate about two dozen of them for lunch each day. The winner gets a $250 grand prize, but who really needs money when you can have all the corn dog bites in the world?


    Haute Dog Eating Contest — Purcellville, Virginia

    If you frequent one of the 21 Golden Corrals in Virginia, then you and yours are already prepared to eat in the "Haute" Dog Eating Contest, one of the few events that encourages family bonding through gluttony. Unhealthy eaters from ages 10 and up will be divided into three categories (10-13 years, 14-17 years, 18 and up). The prize, if there is one, is unspecified. But the immense amount of pride and self esteem you or your children will gain from winning such an event is enough of a reward.

  6. The Melrose's 1st Annual Local-Beef Burger Eating Contest — Nashville, Tennessee

    This burger eating contest is a little more flavorful. Instead of scarfing down a bunch of plane patties stuck to plane buns, contestants will race to see who can finish one enormous burger first. Consisting of a five-alarm burger, Texas chili burger, mushroom Swiss burger, and blue cheese and bacon cheeseburgers, such a monstrosity would probably make the winner a burger hater for a while afterward. It's a good thing that his or her $100 gift card to Melrose, the prize, would make an excellent gift to a burger enthusiast friend or family member.

  7. Harvard's Fourth of July Pie-Eating Contest — Harvard, Massachusetts

    Held during Harvard's Old-Time Fourth of July celebrations — which include a parade, sack races, and relay races — this pie-eating contest features some of the world's smartest competitive eaters. In recent years, Sarah Maliszewski has been the Tiger Woods or Roger Federer of the event, reeling off win after win after win. Possessing the ability to eat an entire pie in five seconds, she has cemented her name in Crimson competitive eating lore. Maliszewski is further proof that women can eat with the boys.

  8. The Fifty/50 Ultimate Eating Challenge — Chicago, Illinois

    Fans of The Fifty/50 in Chicago can sample a wide range of menu items on July 3rd by competing in the Ultimate Eating Challenge. A $500 prize awaits the first person who can down 50 menu items, including a delicious Natural Ice 40oz-er, in 50 minutes or fewer. The entry fee is $50, about as much as the average American probably spends on food and beer on the Fourth of July anyway. The meal should — emphasis on should — cover you for the entire day.

  9. The Big Easy Rib Eating Contest — Chelsea, SW3, London, England

    Americans who are fortunate enough to live in London but have the misfortune of being away from their country on its birthday can celebrate at The Big Easy by eating as many racks of ribs as their abdomens will allow. It's comfort food in a comfortable environment that aims to transport you to the easygoing, simple lifestyle that has long been embraced by residents of America's Gulf Coast. Of course, that doesn't mean you should feel free to vomit in a random corner like you're in the French Quarter. This is a classy establishment. Don't get too comfy.

  10. The Blues Kitchen Hot Dog Eating Contest — Camden Town, NW1, London, England

    Even though we kicked the Redcoats' butts about 230 years ago, the Brits have pretty much forgiven and forgotten (we think), partaking and organizing Fourth of July celebrations for American transplants (see above). If you're not a fan of ribs or just prefer your eating contests to feature hotdogs, this is your spot for the Fourth. The Blues Kitchen describes the event as "a glorious and noble tradition and the perfect way to commemorate the birth of a nation!" There's absolutely nothing patronizing about that statement.

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