New York-New York to host Fifth Annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship

May 28, 2002 2:54 AM

America’s best eaters are on their way to Las Vegas for one of the most hotly contested events on the 2002 competitive eating circuit ”” Nathan’s Famous Las Vegas Hot Dog Eating Championship at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino.

The regional qualifying contest will take place on Thursday, June 6 at 3 p.m. on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York. The winner will earn the right to represent the United States at the 87th Annual International Hot Dog Eating Championship on Thursday, July 4, 2002 in Coney Island, New York. Anyone 18 or older is eligible to compete and the winning prize includes an all-expense paid trip to New York City for the historic event.

Last year on July 4, Takeru Kobayashi of Japan ate 50 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest to smash the previous world record and win the coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt, the World Cup of competitive eating.

Nathan’s has launched a nationwide effort to find a champion who can restore America’s place in the international eating arena. More than a dozen eaters throughout the United States are expected to compete at the Las Vegas event. Three-time Las Vegas champion Kid Cary Degrosa is expecting intense competition from eating veterans such as Cookie Jarvis of New York and Coondog O’Karma of Ohio.

"Despite America’s inability to regain the Belt, which has been held by a Japanese competitor for four of the past five years, American eaters have not given up ”” they have doubled their efforts, approaching the 2002 season with a renewed vigor and sense of purpose," said George Shea, spokesperson for Nathan’s Famous. "The Las Vegas contest may well be the greatest display of American eating in 2002."

The campaign to recruit champion-caliber eaters is taking place in Las Vegas, Boston, Miami, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Atlanta as well as many other locations. At the July 4 event, American eaters will go cheek to jowl with competitors from Thailand, Germany, Canada, England and Japan.

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