In its heyday, Coney Island was the location of America’s most famous amusement park, with death-defying rides, carnival sideshows and some of the best walk-around food you could find. It’s home to “Nathan’s Famous” hot dogs and Mrs. Stahl’s knishes. Over the years, Coney Island has lost its allure, but you can still come to this seaside location every July 4th and watch Nathan’s annual hot dog eating contest, which is the premier event in competitive eating.
This year, they’ve added a new twist. On July 3rd, the boardwalk will brace itself for an unprecedented challenge in the competitive eating arena, when three yet-to-be-named individuals will square off in a hot dog bun-eating contest against three elephants from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Although the odds are clearly in the elephants’ favor, George Shea, president of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, feels that the human contestants might have a slight competitive edge because of their keen intellect. “Perhaps the elephants won’t understand the word `Go,’”, Shea speculates, in a statement to the Brooklyn Paper.
Whichever team (human or elephant) consumes the most hot dog rolls in six minutes will be declared the winner. Dunking the rolls in water to decrease their volume is allowed, but the human team members should note that elephants consume up to 200 pounds of food a day and devour a loaf of bread in less than two seconds.
Shea is obviously rooting for the human team. “I see an arrogant animal that needs to be taken down a notch,” said Shea, in referring to the elephants.
This gastronomical event takes place the day before Nathan’s all human hot dog eating contest, which will see a rematch between two-time world champ Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi, who won the event for six consecutive years.