Hot Dog Eating Contest at the Doghouse
Text and photos by Shannon Kelley Gould
When is a wiener just a wiener? And when is the measure of a man determined by how many wieners he can eat in 10 minutes? When the wieners in question are of the pork-product variety and the men are competing at The Doghouse’s First Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest, of course. (What were you thinking? Pervert …)
In my days at The Indy, I’ve learned that whenever news reporter Ethan Stewart ambles into my office saying, “I have a Peeps for you,” I should sit up and take note. While his suggestions are rarely conventional — whether mildly dangerous, gastronomically inappropriate, or borderline illegal — they are guaranteed entertainment. So when he told me that the dudes at the Doghouse were planning a hot dog eating contest, complete with dollar beers and live music, for the weekend before July 4, I was sold. After all, an event such as this is destined to become a classic. And what could possibly be more American than a bunch of men stuffing their faces with more nitrates, fillers, and (presumably) meat than my stomach has seen in years?
I strolled over to the hot dog joint around noon to find a couple of guys sitting around, not eating. I assumed they were contestants, conserving their meat-pounding mojo, so I pumped them for info, trying to determine a frontrunner. Westmont grad Joe Cox (who certainly had the most event-appropriate name) was a competitive eating virgin; Mikel Plett, however, claimed he’d won a pizza-eating contest in S.F., downing six large pies to do it. Ethan and his pals appeared, primed and ready, or so they claimed, but I had to question their strategy: Prepping for a pig-out by starving oneself seemed iffy, but then, what would qualify as a reasonable approach?
Time passed and soon a large crowd had gathered. Holden’s Tom Cantillon took the mike — and the opportunity to wax dirty about the proceedings — as the anticipation built to a crescendo: The barf bucket was in place, the wieners were lined up and ready, and so were the hot dogs. The crowd cheered as the dogs disappeared: some double-fisted; some munched several at a time; some stuffed them down their pants. Cox scarfed his wieners quickly, then formed the buns into an enormous wad, which he doused with RockStar (the only beverage the contestants were allowed) and attempted to swallow, Kobayashi-style. When the 10 minutes were up, several guys had tied for the win, downing seven dogs each. The winner was determined by a sadistic RockStar pound-off, which Plett took by a nose. A small-scale puke later, he was crowned champ.
While Plett made off with the prize — $400 and the right to create a new Doghouse dog — $9 for all-you-can-eat dogs and a T-shirt qualifies as a pretty killer lunch deal, so really, everyone was a wiener — er, winner.
Where will your peeps be? Email Shannon@independent.com.