Begun, the hot dog wars have: Kobayashi-led Crif Dog Classic to challenge Nathan’s Fourth of July eating contest
Jun 28, 2012, 4:32 PM EDT
July 4th is around the corner and in the world of competitive eating, there’s a fresh new challenger in town. After two years of rebellion against the competitive eating circuit and Famous Nathan’s annual Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating contest, eating legend Takeru Kobayashi (interview below) has inspired the creation of the “Crif Dog Classic”, a rival eating contest that looks to go head-to-head in knocking down Nathan’s supremacy in the hot dog-eating genre.
Nathan’s has made contestants sign exclusive rights contracts that would only allow eaters to compete in certain ‘league sanctioned’ events, something Kobayashi and his associates fiercely oppose. But they went with the program for nine years, until in 2010 things changed and Kobayashi decided to take a stand. He didn’t sign the contract, and nathan’s kicked him out. Never mind that he helped create a competitive eating empire in the mid-2000′s with his showmanship and pure talent.
But just because he hasn’t been able to eat hot dogs for Nathan’s doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy on the 4th. In 2010 he was arrested while attempting to climb onto the Nathan’s stage in a bizarre little protest. He didn’t sign the contract in 2011 year either, deciding instead to compete on the rooftop of 230 Fifth, a Manhattan bar. That event was staged with the Coney Island event blaring live on a big screen television behind him. Two judges hired for the day claim Kobayashi ate 69 hot dogs that day, which is one more than the world record and seven more than the winning total Joey Chestnut ate across town, where all the people were.
Kobayashi’s main rival, Chestnut, didn’t have many nice things to say about the stunt. “I think even Kobayashi would agree that the record still stands at 68,” Chestnut said then. “And if he wants to compete with me on the Fourth of July, he knows what he has to do: sign a simple contract and man up.”
When told of Kobi’s claim of eating 69 hot dogs, Major League Eating president George Shea sneered, “The champion of the world is crowned in Coney Island. Always has been, always will be. He put a tin crown on his head and called himself king.”
We’ll see if that sentiment holds true after the Crif Dog Classic has a few years to establish a following and get some momentum going. It will be interesting to see how much of an audience the CDC can take from Nathan’s. To start, they’ve already hired a big name celebrity judge and lead singer/guitarist for the rock-and-roll outfit “The Offspring”, Dexter Holland, who famously wrote the punk rock anthem Pretty Fly For A White Guy. Not too shabby.
Kobi’s ascent back into the public eye and dominance began on February 3, 2012, when a sonic boom of a chicken wing eating performance quieted the Philadelphia doubters. Kobi threw back a Wing Bowl record 337 wings in his first year of competing, set the world record for eating Twinkies on the Wendy Williams show and even did a video for College Humor in which he was force-fed hot dogs and compared to a bear.
But you can really say that the ascent began right before my eyes, while I was hanging out with Bleacher Report’s Josh Zerkle during a “Blogs With Balls” after-party. Kobi’s team hired the HHR Media Group to oversee all public relations, all while Kobi and I were laughing at Sigourney Weaver wordlessly screaming that the Predator was going to get her as we watched a muted bar television in downtown NYC. Wonder why you’ve seen so much of Kobi the past year? Because HHR has been working their butts off to see Kobi back on top. And it’s working.
I was able to shoot a few questions over to Kobayashi regarding the upcoming Crif Dog Classic and he was happy to oblige.
It’s very brave of you to your own tournament. What gave you the courage to go out and stand up to what you view as an unfair competitive environment and begin this tradition?
I don’t consider this being very brave. As for courage, it takes the same amount as someone opening their first shop or selling their first product… Although I know I’m fortunate to have all the support to put it together.
As for standing up for something, there are many others before me who have also stood up for what they believe in competitive eating. I just wanted another option for a stage on July 4th in NYC, which made me think others must as well and would enjoy it, if it existed.
A lot of people make grandiose plans and don’t follow through, how were you able to make the event happen?
Again, I am very fortunate to have people to support my ideas and believe it could be something great. There is a fantastic producer for this event and amazing sponsors- not to mention all of the wonderful friends coming out to take part in different ways.. I can’t express in words how grateful I am to everyone. I am the reason for the notion, but they are the reason it has become a reality.
So the Nathan’s gang will be eating their hot dogs on Coney Island and Kobi’s gang will be eating their hot dogs in Brooklyn and we’ll get to watch a nice little hot dog-based soap opera unfold over the next few years. Who’s going to win? Probably the hot dogs.
Mar 31, 2013, 10:37 AM EDT
Since this will be the final post in the history of Off The Bench, I feel that this post can’t just be a simple post about an NFL player buying segways for his teammates or an improbable buzzer beater from a high school basketball game. I’d like to echo the sentiments that Rick featured in…
Mar 31, 2013, 7:13 AM EDT
As Opening Day of Major League Baseball is just around the corner, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels will be getting the starting nod against the Atlanta Braves. If you have been following the Phillies during spring training, you might have noticed that Hamels has been growing a rather impressive mustache. Below are just some photos…
Mar 30, 2013, 12:16 PM EDT
Back in 2012, Vanderbilt University’s baseball team pulled off a successful triple steal in a game against Florida in the SEC Tournament. Earlier this week, Vanderbilt pulled off that rare feat again in a non-conference game against Lipscomb University. With runners on first and second, Commodore manager Tim Corbin called for the steal and before…
Mar 30, 2013, 9:04 AM EDT
Back on Tuesday, the United States men’s soccer team traveled to Azteca Stadium to face Mexico in a World Cup Qualifying match. After the match ended in a draw, a group of happy United States fans celebrated the 0-0 score in the upper deck of the Azteca. As chants of USA got louder and louder,…
Mar 28, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT
In case you haven’t heard, Easter Sunday is the final day of Off the Bench: this blog will cease operations as of 11:59 p.m. on that date. So the day after March 31, there will be no new posts on this blog. The timing is fine: I see no reason people would wake the next…
Mar 27, 2013, 3:19 PM EDT
So the Miami Heat have won 27 straight, and have an excellent chance of breaking the NBA record for consecutive wins, 33, set by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers. Here’s a pretty good breakdown comparing the two teams. But if you’re like me, it’s not enough to know that Thor and Hercules were both very…
Mar 26, 2013, 2:35 PM EDT
Life as a lesser Belushi can be frustrating at times, I’d imagine: even though you occasionally get to be in films like Trading Places and be married to Courtney Thorne-Smith. Also you get to participate in Shoot-the-Puck contests at Chicago Blackhawks games. Jim Belushi was born in Chicago, so I sure hope he makes this…
Mar 25, 2013, 5:39 PM EDT
If you’re a fan of vintage tennis posters — or, you know, hot chicks — the you may be familiar with ‘Tennis Girl’. That’s the photo of 18-year-old Fiona Butler showing her mostly bare backside, shot by her boyfriend, Martin Elliott, and made into an iconic, best-selling poster in the 1970s. Lauren Davis of the…
Mar 25, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
But that’s not even the most incredible part of this story. Iram Leon, 32, won the 2013 Gusher Marathon in Beaumont, Texas on Saturday despite the fact that he has terminal brain cancer. He ran the entire race while pushing his 6-year-old daughter Kiana in a stroller, winning with a time of in 3:07:36. That’s…
Mar 24, 2013, 3:38 PM EDT
Honestly, I didn’t think that a statue of a horned frog would scare me but the latest edition to the TCU football stadium might cause me to look under my bed for the next couple of days. On Saturday, TCU unveiled the newest edition to Amon G. Carter Stadium as a bronzed horned frog will…
Mar 24, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT
There might not be a individual in sports known for his wacky fashion sense than Turner Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager. Over the years, Craig has provided the world and a bunch of NBA players cannon-fodder for his strange color combinations and for those of you who think that Craig just wears those zany outfits…
Mar 24, 2013, 8:33 AM EDT
At almost every college/professional basketball game these days, one lucky fan is brought out onto the court to win some sort of cash or prize by making a number of shots or a half-court shot. For most, the pressure is pretty high but for one Serbian basketball fan attending an Adriatic League basketball game between KK Igokea…
Mar 23, 2013, 1:45 PM EDT
After playing together for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, it appears that Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips became fast friends with Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino. Back on Friday night, Phillips took to his Twitter account to show off a pair of size 6.5 Louboutin sneakers that he bought for…
Mar 23, 2013, 10:55 AM EDT
Over the last couple of years, it appears that college athletic programs have been trying to one up each other in trying to create the most creative-looking football field or basketball courts. Back on Wednesday, Florida International men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino revealed the latest possible crazy basketball court design on his Twitter account. The…
Mar 23, 2013, 10:09 AM EDT
Over in Atwood, IL, all systems are go for a fundraiser in which an AR-15 rifle — the same type used in two recent school massacres — will be raffled off to benefit the local youth baseball league. According to the people involved this is all perfectly kosher, and one lucky fan will be heavily…
Mar 23, 2013, 8:35 AM EDT
While it’s normal for soccer goalies to come up on corner kicks to create an extra attacker, it isn’t normal for them to take motorcycle rides back to their own goal. Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot of information about the below video except for the fact that it occurs during a soccer match on…
Mar 22, 2013, 6:46 PM EDT
Bigger gathering of villainy: the cantina in Mos Eisly spaceport, or Harvard University? The basketball team may be riding high right now, but things are not going so swell back on campus. This past August Harvard officials announced that 125 students were under investigation for allegedly cheating on a take-home test. And now, Harvard has…
Mar 22, 2013, 4:22 PM EDT
Don’t those dual hair parts kind of resemble devil horns? Isn’t his trash-talking style kind of evil? Is his shot selection from the pit of hell? Yes, yes and yes. Every good story needs an antagonist, and the NCAA Basketball Tournament has theirs in Mississippi guard Marshall Henderson. What we have here is not exactly…
Mar 21, 2013, 4:12 PM EDT
Anybody wondering what Andre the Giant would have been like as a college basketball player, look no further than Sim Bhullar — New Mexico State’s 7-foot-5, 360-pound freshman from Toronto. Bhullar, the tallest player in college basketball, has 85 blocked shots and led the WAC in field goal percentage at 63.2 percent. Hey, it’s not…
Mar 20, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT
This video proves once again that great champions are made to order, not born. The Allen Americans of the Central Hockey League, a Double-A affiliate of the Dallas Stars, had their Fourth Annual McDonald’s Night at Allen Event Center in Allen, TX, recently. This of course called for McDonald’s-themed uniforms (later auctioned for charity), but…
- So long folks, it’s time for me to take off 18
- Man wins full marathon while pushing his daughter in a baby stroller (video) 14
- Lock and load, it’s youth baseball fundraising time: league raffling off AR-15 rifle (video) 8
- Sim Bhullar is a large basketball player, and I mean it. Anybody want a peanut? 0
- What’s with kids and all these death-defying stunts? 674
- Nothing to see here…just a 70-yard field goal by a high-schooler (video) 3
- None found