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Opinion It's as American as a hot dog eating contest

It’s as American as a hot dog eating contest

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Joey “Jaws” Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan’s Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday, just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year.

I can’t imagine.

I ate one – yes – one – at the ninth annual hot dog eating contest at Curly’s Custard on Camp Bowie Boulevard and was ready to call it a day. I was actually in the media division. There were four of us and the goal was who could eat one the fastest. Still, it’s too bad this was a contest because the hot dog was really, really good. It was a Nathan’s Famous hot dog and the buns were made locally. I guess I did because I came in last. Still, if I could have topped it with some horseradish mustard it would have been great.

But I got a few laughs. First, PR man and announcer for the contest John Fletcher introduced me as “Bob Francis, editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.” He quickly corrected himself, but not before I blurted out: “I got a demotion!” That was right in front of the Star-Telegram contestant Steve Wilson. It got a few laughs. 

Then, as I was trying to finish as the last competitor, all eyes were on me. “Can I have a to-go box?” I asked, to more laughter. 

The real competitors had to eat four of these beasts.  God Bless America and their stomachs.

It was fun though. There was a crowd of about 50 people there to watch the 11 contestants compete.

There were five kids in the junior competition. One woman urged her daughter on, screaming “Come on girl, use that big mouth!”

It’s a great American tradition. Using our big mouth has something to do with freedom of speech, I guess. I’m not sure which Bill of Rights the freedom to eat is, but I celebrated it.

Here are the weiners: The snarky comment on my time is courtesy of John Fletcher:


Isaac Rodriguez: 50 seconds (He later competed in the Grand Masters, where he ate four MORE hot dogs)

Joseph Vasquez: 1 minute 47 seconds

GRAND MASTERS (17+): Last year’s winner was 2 minutes, 54 seconds

Jeff Gilmore: 3 minutes, 37 seconds

Trevor Cofoid (last year’s CHOMP-ion): 3 minutes, 44 seconds


Sean Giggy: WFAA/News 8 – 49 seconds

Alan Scaia: KRLD radio – 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Steve Wilson: Star-Telegram – 2 minutes, 51 seconds

Bob Francis: Fort Worth Business Press – Took his assignment home and will complete over the weekend!

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