Since Joey Chestnut (from San Jose, California) has just won the 2008 World’s Fastest Hot-Dog Eater Title, we will look at some of American’s most prominent Competitive Eater.
1. Joey Chestnut, aka “JAWS”
Takeru Kobayashi won the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest six years in a row, until 2007 when Joey Chestnut did what no American had done before. The San José State University student entered the competitive eating scene in 2005 with a break-out performance in the deep-fried asparagus eating championship, in which he beat high-ranked eater Rich LeFevre by eating 6.3 pounds of asparagus in 11.5 minutes. That same year, during Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, Chestnut downed hot dogs and buns, placing second behind Takeru Kobayashi.
2. Sonya Thomas, aka “Black Widow”
After seeing Kobayashi (approximately 145 pounds) win the 2002 Nathan’s contest, Thomas realized a smaller stature was not an impediment to being a world-class eater, and entered the competitive eating circuit. In her first contest, the June 2003 Nathan’s qualifier held at the Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike, her tally of 18 hot dogs took first place and enabled her to compete in the July 4th competition held at Coney Island. Her total of 25 hot dogs there broke the women’s record set three years earlier by Takako Akasaka, the dominant female in Japanese competitive eating.
3. Patrick Bertoletti, aka “Deep Dish”
On January 2, 2007, he became the first person to complete the Sasquatch Burger Contest at Bigfoot Lodge Cafe in Memphis. 679 People had tried to finish the burger and fries that starts with 4 lbs of hamburger meat on a homemade bun, Bertoletti finished the meal in 11 minutes.On July 4, 2007, he finished third in the 92nd annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, having eaten 49 hot dogs and buns in that competition. Only two others have ever eaten more during the contest.
4. Joe “Jammin” LaRue
A culinary arts student, Joe had a notable year of competition in 2004, winning an 84 Lumber baked bean eating bout, winning the Footy’s Y-100 Wing Ding chicken wing eating contest and placing second at the Sweet Corn Fiesta’s Sweet Corn Eating Championship. It was his victory in the 2005 sweet corn eating match (31 ears of sweet corn in 12 minutes) that showed he has the ability to play at the very top tier in the eating game.
5. David O’Karma
A painting contractor from Akron, Ohio, who owns the world doughnut eating title (30 donuts in 5:28), David started competitive eating at age 15 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, at Church’s Chicken on Portage Trail. He ate 13 sweet potato pies in one minute to become the WCUE Sweet Potato Pie-eating Champion. From there he entered the Houlihan and Big Chuck Show’s Pizza Fight of the Century and became the only ‘human” to defeat the legendary Mariano “Mushmouth” Pacetti
6. Bob Shoudt, aka “Humble”
An avid mountain climber and IT manager at work, “Humble” Bob Shoudt is a competitive eater from Royersford, Pennsylvania, and a top-ranked member of the IFOCE – International Federation of Competitive Eating. He is currently ranked 7th in the World by the IFOCE. He is both the highest ranked Competitive Eater in the World that is a parent or is of Native American Indian heritage.
7. Hall Hunt, aka “Hoover”
Hall Hunt, a member of American MENSA, has made his mark as one of the up and coming “Young Guns” of competitive eating. Seen at the championship table of many IFOCE majors, Hunt has earned the respect and admiration of his peers. His personal bests are 29 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, 52 Krystals in 8 min., 23 grilled cheese sandwiches in 10 min. and he also performed well in Spike TV’s MLE Chowdown.
8. Juliet Lee , aka “The Lovely”
A former Chemistry Professor, Juliet Lee has only been competing professionally since December 2006, but is one of the few women ever to earn a chance to compete in The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Originally from the cold northern shores of China, she loves all types of seafood. As a child, she often ate only what she could catch from the beach.
9. Tim Janus , aka “Eater X”
A professional Wallstreet Trader, his given name is Tim Janus, but to the competitive eating community he is a man of mystery, Eater X, whose inner torment is concealed by a mask. Eater X has distinguished himself in the eating community, performing well in pie, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, cannoli, brats, and corned beef and cabbage.
10. Juris Shibayama, “Dr Bigtime”
A doctor ( orthopedic surgeon ) who burst onto the scene during the 2006 Krystal Square Off Circuit. He hails originally from Chicago, IL, and is looking to make his gustatory mark in 2007.