Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mainers Responsible for Popularity of Competetive Eating

At noon Eastern on Sunday, tens of thousands of onlookers and millions of
television viewers will wonder how someone like last year’s champion, Joey
Chestnut, can swallow a record 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. A few may
wonder who is responsible. One is a 45-year-old named George Shea, who dons a
straw hat and spews full-throated commentary and tall tales of gorging glory as
the M.C. The other is his brother Rich, 41, who provides tongue-in-cheek
observations for television. Thank them. Blame them. Curse them. Relish them.
Until reading this article I'd forgotten I'd witnessed history when I stood in the parking lot of Costa Vida (now Loco Baja Grill) in South Portland and watched the fourth-ranked competitive eater in the world devour 10 3/4, 18-ounce burritos in 12 minutes en route to winning the 2007 edition of the Costa Vida World Burrito Eating Championship. Ah, the memories.

- John C.L. Morgan

P.S. Video of the 2008 version of the event can be seen here.

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