- Posted: 7:20 AM, June 8, 2012
Widely considered the Super Bowl of competitive eating, the wiener showdown traditionally kicks off at noon, when in past years the temps have topped 100 degrees with the heat rising as the dog day drags on — a factor that could impact the ability of contestants to break any records.
Major League Eating president George Shea said he expects the later 3 p.m. start time to also drive up ratings for the glutton-fest, which attracted 1.9 million live viewers last year. But he admits the mid-afternoon heat “should make it much more difficult” for the dog devourers to break Joey Chestnut’s 2009 world record of 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
“Heat causes the buns to crisp up more and the dogs to expand, making a run at the record nearly impossible,” said professional eater and perennial Nathan’s contestant Jason “Crazy Legs” Conti.
“If it’s hot on the Fourth of July, it definitely favors fitter eaters,” said another contestant, Tim “Eater X” Janus. “Out-of-shape guys will definitely have a problem on their hands, but I’ve always welcomed the heat.”
Chestnut this year is seeking his sixth Mustard Yellow Belt, which would tie Takeru Kobayashi, the Japanese eating legend who was banned from last year’s contest in a contract dispute and then arrested after running onstage.