UK hosts ‘World Cup’ of competitive hot dog eating qualifier

The president of Major League Eating has expressed his enthusiasm for the UK hosting a qualifying event for the annual Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, often referred to as the “World Cup” of competitive eating. This marks the first time that such an event is being held in the UK.

Scheduled to take place at Seal Bay Resort’s White Horse Complex in Selsey, West Sussex, the 10-minute competition will feature around twelve participants, many of whom are from the UK. Competitors will engage in an intense hot dog eating challenge, aiming to qualify for the world championship contests that are slated to occur in Coney Island, New York, on July 4, 2024.

Major League Eating president Richard Shea, aged 54, has emphasized the significance of conducting a qualifier in England for their flagship event, calling it “high time.” The event is sponsored by Nathan’s Famous, a fast-food restaurant chain renowned for its hot dogs.

Participants from the UK will have the opportunity to compete against prominent competitive eaters from various countries including the United States, Japan, Australia, and Brazil.

One of the hopefuls from the UK is Max Stanford, who holds impressive eating records including consuming 141 Oreos in five minutes, 23 McPlant burgers in under an hour, and 50 cream eggs in 24 minutes. Richard Shea mentioned Stanford as a potential favorite among the British participants, though he highlighted the uncertainty of how well he will perform in the hot dog eating contest.

The current world record for the hot dog eating competition stands at 76 hot dogs and buns consumed in 10 minutes, achieved by Joey Chestnut from Indiana. Miki Sudo from Florida holds the record for the women’s division, having consumed 48.5 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns within the same time frame.

Richard Shea shared historical context, stating that the tradition of a hot dog eating contest on July 4 in Coney Island dates back to 1916 when the first Nathan’s Famous restaurant opened. He recounted that the initial contest took place among immigrants trying to showcase their patriotism.

Reflecting on the evolution of competitive eating, Shea noted that motivations have shifted from curiosity or boasting about eating prowess to a focus on competitiveness. He remarked that participants have increasingly become more like athletes, with many having backgrounds in various sports disciplines.

Among the participants in the UK qualifier are John Dawes from Durham, Radim Dvoracek from the Czech Republic, and Ronnie Hartmann, the 19th-ranked competitive eater globally, hailing from the US.

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