Ain't no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than by watching the Coney Island Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition: our buddies at the mothership Gothamist even liveblogged the whole thing! (yes, yes, it's terrible that Americans waste so much food when people in Africa are starving. We promise to give money to Jeffrey Sachs's End of Poverty program to atone for our rapacious delight today, okay?)
And what's our local connection? Second-place eater and up-and-coming American star Joey Chestnut, who almost dunk-and-swallowed top dog Takeru Kobayashi out of first place with a strong start out the gate. Chestnut's a San Jose State engineering student! Yay Area whut!
Alas, Chestnut started to flag about 6 minutes in, allowing Kobayashi to peristalsis his way to the win at the end. A nail-biter, to be sure -- but now Chestnut's claiming some gastrointestinal malfeasance might have occurred -- at around dog 50, people noticed that Kobayashi might have suffered what the eating competition circuit delicately terms a "reversal of fortune," which is an automatic DQ. Witnesses say that Kobayashi spit up into a cup, but that he (warning, it's gross) swallowed it back down before it hit the table -- which doesn't count. Chestnut's decided to view it as a bad refereeing call, and promises to be back again next year.
This summer, Chestnut's training regimen included drinking two gallons of warm water every morning to stretch his stomach; eating 40 dogs a day three days a week, and the day before he left for New York, he ate 54 dogs in a practice run. We may be betraying our Bay Area affiliation here, but we're hoping they were Rosamunde dogs.