Everyone's favorite sporting event -- the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest -- is upon us again. Yes, believe it or not, some classify competitive eating as a sport. In that spirit, we present some of the "official" records in its illustrious history on file at the Major League Eating website. Prepare to be amazed — and probably a little disgusted.
Joey Chestnut is America's pride and joy, holding the record in 32 different Major League Eating contests (one of which is for "brain tacos"), including the world-renowned Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Chestnut has gone back and forth with rival Takeru Kobayashi for this distinction, but currently it's Chestnut who holds bragging rights, wolfing down 69 dogs in last year's contest.
The setting: Oktoberfest, Cincinnati. The year: 2013. The man: once again, Joey Chestnut. The American scarfed down 70 Hillshire Farm brats in 10 minutes to set the record in the brat category.
Who holds the record for eating Chinese dumplings? A guy named Cookie, of course. Weighing just over 400 pounds, Cookie Jarvis (pictured) holds more titles than anyone in the world, including his first title of World Ice Cream Eating Champion. His dumpling record stands at 91 Chinese dumplings devoured in eight minutes.
When it comes to pizza, size matters. Richard LeFevre, a retired CPA, holds the record for a 24-incher, scarfing it down in 15 minutes. For the 16-inch variety, Patrick Bertoletti holds the world mark after winning the Battle at the Big Apple World Pizza Eating Championship in 2008 with a time of 10 minutes.
7-Eleven Sports Slurpee
Patrick Bertoletti's expertise extends to Slurpees. The eating guru emerged the winner at the 2010 7-Eleven Sports Slurping Time Trials, polishing off a 22-ouncer in just nine seconds. There is a quote on Bertoletti's Major League Eating profile page that reads, "I believe the children are our future." Indeed.
Don't worry. It ain't the healthy kind. The record for deep-fried asparagus spear consumption, because we know you were wondering, was set by Joey Chestnut in 2011 at the Stockton Asparagus Fest. He put back 12 pounds, 8.75 ounces in 10 minutes.
This one is sure to gross you out. Don Lerman managed to swallow a whole lot of baked beans to take the world record -- six pounds in one minute, 48 seconds to be exact. According to his Major League Eating profile page, "Fans have been asking for a three-way bean eat-off between Don, Dale Boone and Sonya Thomas in baked beans. Until this happens, the world will not know who is the planet's fastest baked bean eater." Cross your fingers.
Not your mama's blueberry pie-eating contest. We're talking about the kind where you can't use your hands. Once again, it's Patrick Bertoletti with the record, throwing back enough to take the Stand By Me World Pie-Eating Championship in 2007 -- 9.17 pounds in eight minutes.
Another cringe-worthy honor to Don Lerman, who forced down seven quarter-pound sticks of salted butter in five minutes to claim the world record. That just sounds horrible.
We love crab cakes, and so does Sonya Thomas. The Queen of Queasy ate 46 Phillips crab cakes in nine minutes at the Baltimore Waterfront Festival in 2006, best ever.
Yes, grapes! How many of those would it take to make you sick? If you're Cookie Jarvis, the threshold is skewed. He put back eight pounds, 15 ounces to take the Smirnoff Twisted V Wild Grape contest in 2005, just one of Jarvis' many crowns.
There are many subsections of this record depending on the size and brand of burger. Don Lerman holds the record for quarter-pound "Cloud Burgers" -- 11.25 in 10 minutes. Joey Chestnut holds the record for the smaller, slider-size "Krystal Burgers" -- 103 in eight minutes, which he accomplished in 2007.
Now we're just getting inappropriate. There can't be many things worse than being forced to eat pure mayonnaise, but don't tell that to Oleg Zhornitskiy. The Ukraine-born competitive eater set a world record for eating the condiment, forcing down four 32-ounce bowls in eight minutes. No word how much of that stayed down. His best profile-page passage: "He is avid about disco dancing and is known for his attention to fashion."
One of the longest-standing records in Major League Eating history is held by Richard LeFevre who gained it in April 2004, when he took down six pounds in 12 minutes. The event was called Spamarama. We would all be better off as humans if we attend a Spamarama at some point in life.
To celebrate his own 21st birthday, Matt Stonie set the record by finishing a 5.5-pound cake in eight minutes, 59 seconds in May 2013. He hails from the same hometown -- San Jose, Calif. -- as Joey Chestnut.
It's that superstar Patrick Bertoletti again. This time, the milieu is breakfast food. Bertoletti chomped his way back into the record books in October 2007, eating 29 eight-ounce waffles in 10 minutes, and he did it inside no less an authority on the subject than Waffle House.
Who doesn't love a good cupcake? Patrick Bertoletti definitely loves them and again threw down the gauntlet and ate his way to a world-record performance -- 72 in six minutes -- at the 2012 Isle Waterloo World Cupcake Eating Championship. This raises the question: What foods won't the competitive eater gorge on?
While it's hard to imagine too many folks jumping in line to chase down this record, Takeru Kobayashi must have had some competition to win the record for eating cow brains. Nevertheless, he's the record holder, with 17.7 pounds consumed in 15 minutes.
Ever wonder what to do with all those pretty hard-boiled eggs after Easter? They can be consumed. In massive quantities. But not by just anyone. Sonya Thomas, the Black Widow, previously held the record before our old friend Joey Chestnut broke the mark in 2013, eating 141 in eight minutes.
Vegetarian Bob Shoudt (who, oddly enough, holds records for beef brisket barbecue sandwiches and roast beef sliders) knows a thing or two about potatoes. He holds the Major League Eating record for eating Curley's french fries, 7.9 pounds in 10 minutes at the Curley's Fries Eating Championship on May 31, 2010. Cookie Jarvis holds the record for Nathan's Famous Crinkle Cut Fries, eating 4.46 pounds in six minutes in 2005.