Last Friday, on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend, ESPN employees were treated to two rites of summer — a cookout and a hot dog eating contest. The event was held to help celebrate the network’s five-year exclusive extension with Major League Eating to televise Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.
As employees loaded their Nathan’s Famous ‘dogs with relish (not to mention mustard!), focus turned to the contest between competitive eaters Crazy Legs Conti and Maria Edible, who made the trip to the Bristol, Conn. campus.
Crazy Legs, known as the “Houdini of Cuisini,” is the No. 20-ranked eater in the world and holds titles in the areas of corn on the cob, French-cut string beans, pancakes and bacon, and buffet food.
Maria Edible is a rising star in the world of MLE and has expanded her bib sheet to include chili (4.5 lbs in 6 min.), cupcakes (48 in 6 min.) and turkey (3.7 lbs in 10 min.).
The competitive eaters were introduced by MLE chairman George Shea. And after an intense — and sometimes messy — five-minute chow down (the July 4 competition goes 10 minutes), Crazy Legs came away the winner with 13.5 hot dogs consumed. Maria Edible finished 12 hot dogs in regulation time.
Both participants hope to be competing in the official Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 at Coney Island, N.Y.
More than 25 eating athletes from around the world will compete for the respective Men’s and Women’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating World Championship Belts. The event will be televised live on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET.
Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif. holds the world record for eating 68 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes, and he will seek his sixth straight title this year. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va. will defend her title as Female Champion. She consumed 40 Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes last year.