Gluttony on the podium: Where are Canada’s competitive eaters?

Shortly before his death, US president John F. Kennedy said, “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.

Shortly before his death, US president John F. Kennedy said, “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.”

If this is true, then, without exaggeration, Joey Chestnut is one of the greatest Americans in the history of the universe.

Not only is he a champion, holding a record in a sport previously dominated by Asians, but through the ferocity and determination in which he competes he is at the vanguard of the war against hunger — specifically his own.

Just in case you’ve been in a coma for the last two years or you’re a toddler in a small jungle village, Chestnut (nicknamed Jaws) is one of the all-time great hot-dog-eating champions.

In what will surely be adapted to the big screen in future years, Chestnut defended his title at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest July 4 on Coney Island, defeating six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi from Japan.

It ended in a spectacle that will inevitably surpass such great moments in sports as the Ali-Fraser fight of 1971.

At the buzzer both Chestnut and Kobayashi were tied with 59 hotdogs consumed.

In the first overtime finals in the contest’s 82-year history, Chestnut took the title wolfing down five more dogs in the extra round.

Putting down 64 dogs in one go is enough to impress even Michael Vic.

Some say that encounters with Chestnut are comparable to meeting the Pope.

“Gas is approaching $5 a gallon, tomatoes are unsafe to eat, but the Mustard Yellow Belt is on American soil,” said Richard Shea of Major League Eating, in an article from

“Joey Chestnut is an agent of change.”

What Shea failed to realize is that by successfully defending his title Chestnut prevented change.

In his defence, Kobayashi encountered a common setback that many competitors face in the delicate ballet that is competitive hot-dog eating — he vomited through his nose.

What is impressive about the sport is the range of contests and champions its proliferation is producing.

In Ithaca, New York, two weeks ago, Jesse Simons won the Office Worker Appreciation Week hot-dog-eating contest.

The win is astounding because Simons is a vegetarian.

But Simons eats meat “occasionally for things like this,” he said.

Nothing says dedication like the willingness to push aside moral obligations that, in themselves, take tremendous dedication to adhere to.

A week ago in Gastonia, North Carolina, 38-year-old Stan Childs began his climb to stardom winning the Gastonia Grizzlies’ hot-dog-eating contest.

“I won it for my son,” said Childs, speaking to the Gastonia Gazette and glowing with an inner light that only a victory draped in gluttony can produce. “He begged me for a year to come back.”

Even pintsized competitors are getting in on the action.

In Elgin, Illinois last week, 12-year-old Hannah Burklow won her first contest in the Wiener Ville hot-dog-eating contest, after a disappointing second-place finish the previous year. Coupled with an adult division, the event, which gave away $300 in prizes, raised a whooping $210 for charity.

There was also a videogame released last month called Major League Eating in which characters eat and — you’re going to love this — squirt ketchup at each other. I feverishly made changes to my stock portfolio as soon as I heard the news.

But what’s keeping me up at nights is that as this sport emerges, Canada is being left in the dust.

What we need are scholarships and government-funded coaches. I can’t help but think: Why isn’t there a Hot Dog Eating Yukon Association?

To relieve my mounting anxieties, I, a lonely sports reporter, will be beginning a vigorous training schedule that is sure to put Canada and me at the top of the game.

My mornings will now start at 4:30 a.m. with a sausage-based breakfast. Then comes the 15-kilometre run, towing a wagon of hotdogs, eating one every 30 paces.

In the afternoons I’ll be working with my sports psychologist, a former adviser to Iraq’s Olympic soccer team, training to increase my mental toughness.

I will also be working with a physiotherapist in the evenings to loosen my throat muscles until billiard balls can easily roll from the back of my throat down to my stomach. As I progress I will move from hot dogs to bratwursts, until I can put back kabasa sausages with ease.

If that doesn’t work, I have the number of a doctor in Switzerland who will implant a Teflon tube in my esophagus.

It truly is the sport of gods.

It takes endurance, strategy, hand-eye co-ordination, and if a series of losses produces a depression induced eating disorder in the form of binge eating, then you’re already in training for the next event.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read