Not to brag, but at your last backyard barbeque you put away about 27 chicken wings. Just kidding. You counted, and it was definitely 27. Before you decoupage yourself a championship belt using full-grain leather and gold lamé, you should know that people actually make a sport of eating. You have to earn one of those sweet belts the old fashioned way: Stuffing an alarming number of hot dogs, dim sum, or other cuisine down your gullet in a matter of minutes. Here are five of the world’s most awesome (and, in some cases, totally insane) eating competitions:
1. Nathan’s Famous® Hot Dog Eating Contest
This food eating competition is one of the best known on the globe, so unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve seen the pics. Held every year in Coney Island, New York on the 4th of July, it’s estimated that the Nathan’s Famous® hot dog contest draws in about 40,000 spectators. No pressure, eaters, but if you barf it’s gonna go viral. There are separate competitions for men and women, and the winners get more than just the title. For their efforts, the folks who gobble down the most dogs each take home thousands of dollars. To be fair, it takes some determination to come out on top: In 2014, the winner in the men’s category ate 69 hot dogs, and the female champion scarfed down 34.
2.Acme Oyster House® Eating Contest
If you’re down in N’awlins and you like yourself a good bivalve mollusk, head over to the annual oyster eating contest. Now, you can show up to this oyster-themed New Orleans event and just sample the offerings of the vendors. Or, you can put on your big-kid undies and take to the stage. Not just anyone can be among the top 12 eaters allowed to compete on the big day, but don’t let the odds kill your dream. Be prepared to slurp down at least 400 oysters to stand a chance at the title: In 2014, the champion ate 480 of those slimy buggers.
3. Nettle Eating ChampionshipOh, you thought carnivores got to have all the fun when it comes to eating themselves sick? Nay, my good chap. Each year in Southern England, a handful of courageous (or, depending on how you look at it, hapless) eaters sit down to devour as many thorny weeds as they can. If you’ve never heard of a stinging nettle, just imagine the porcupine of the greenery world and you’re on the right track. Why would anyone eat as much as 76 inches of these prickly plants? Well, the champion only takes home about £100. So we’re guessing it’s for the bragging rights.
4. Kismot Killer Curry Contest
Some eating contests aren’t all about the quantity. Take, for instance, the curry contest held at a family restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland. To take top prize at this battle royale, you must eat curry made from some pretty hot chills. How hot? We’re glad you asked. In 2014, two contestants needed medical attention at a local hospital after the competition. Moving forward, be prepared to undergo an in-person evaluation before you’re allowed to try your hand at withstanding the hottest curry across the pond.
5. Honorable Mention: Testy Festy
When it comes to, shall we say, unconventional food eating competitions, Montana hosted for 30 years what is perhaps the pièce de résistance. Ten minutes. A bucket of Rocky Mountain Oysters. A side of ranch. You can do the math. Sadly, this contest ended in 2014.
Do you think you have what it takes to eat anyone under the table? Put on your finest pair of elastic-waisted pants and get to training, buddy. In the meantime, show your support for your favorite food-eating champ with a home-made sign and some real enthusiasm at their next event!