Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Surf and Stillwell" - Song by Erik the Red

CLICK HERE to listen to "Surf and Stillwell"

Copyright lyrics and vocals - Erik the Red Denmark
Produced by - Nick Peets (http://www.nickpeets.com/)

*redistribution is not authorized unless of course you want to

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Qualifier Tempe,AZ 5/30/09

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Contest Qualifier Tempe, AZ results:

10 minute contest

1 - Erik the Red Denmark - 28 HDB's (wins seat at final table on July 4th)
2 - Bryan "Big Sexy" Beard - 14 HDB's
3 - Jin Daikoku - 13 HDB's

This is the 4th year in a row I have qualified for the biggest eating spectacle in the world. I am psyched to be back. Preparation for qualifying is always more stressful than preparing for the finals for me. It seems though that qualifying has gotten easier each of the passed three years. I have now won 4 consecutive Nathan's qualifiers after losing my first three in 2006. I think there were some other ranked eaters originally signed up to compete in Tempe but as other spots opened up and the whole qualifying scene has started to take shape, eaters who are fighting for a spot to get in are going to other qualifiers.

Even though there were no other ranked eaters in Tempe on Saturday I was still shaking with anticipation and nerves before the contest. The Arizona Mills Mall venue has been a stalwart on the Nathan's circuit for many years and the crowd that shows up is always large, loyal, and loud. In 2006, I attended the Arizona Mills Mall qualifier as my second attempt that year and I ended up eating a personal best 19 hdb's in 12 minutes. Rich LeFevre killed me on that day eating 28, which at that time seemed an unreachable number for me. I was supremely satisfied however with improving from 13.5 in my first qualifier to 19 in my 2nd and that really was the contest that removed a lot of my doubts and gave me confidence that I could be a top contender on the competitive eating circuit. It was also the first contest that I wore the red head band that I wear today - you could say that this was the place that my competitive eating career was truly born.

I had all of those good memories running through my mind and I had high expectations for myself for this contest which made me very anxious before the start. I knew I would have to push myself in the first 3 minutes if I wanted to achieve my goal of eating beyond 30 for the first time and I just could not relax to get myself in to a confident and comfortable zone. Needless to say I got off to a horrible start and there was nobody around me to push against so I got way off pace. The only thing that really helped me finally focus and get rid of the anxiety I was feeling (ironically) in the competition was realizing that I was so far behind my pace after the first 4 minutes that if I didn't start going for broke, I would be embarrassing myself. I ended up finishing pretty strong so as not to embarrass myself. It took me about seven minutes to get through 20 dogs and I got 8 down in the last three minutes which is a good ending pace for me.

I know that there is no way I can have that slow starting pace on July 4th if I want to break through and finish high in the top ten. But all in all I am glad that I at least tied my PR and I can still skate a bit under the radar and surprise some people on the 4th. Sometimes it does you no good to set up such high expectations because once people know you can do something in competitive eating, they expect it and for some reason seem to stop respecting the huge numbers you put up. Eater X ate 50 hot dogs a couple weeks back which is AMAZING - his progression over the years has been astounding and I don't think he got enough press or coverage for that accomplishment. Hall Hunt put up 33 this week (and 34.5 last year) as well which is huge - watching his improvement over the last two years has been awesome. Everyone ends up being labeled or labeling themselves with a number in CE. That number seems to either haunt you or motivate you and it definitely follows you where ever you go. Right now, number 28 is following me and I expect to dump that number and leave it for good coming this July 4th. In fact, in my mind I have already left you 28 - you are nothing to me anymore.

Video of first 8 minutes or so of contest:

Part 2 - Click Here to watch video of the last 30 seconds or so
Click Here for some more of my pics
Links to some articles with pics and vids: Click Here (with pics and video) Click Here (with pics)
Click Here (with pics)