20 Strangest Food Competitions in America Slideshow
July 17, 2013
We’ve rounded up some of the most bizarre food contests (aren’t they all in some way?) from around the country
20. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: New York
One of the best-known food contests in the country, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island occurs every Fourth of July and attracts huge crowds who are eager to watch professional competitive eaters consume as many hot dogs and buns as possible in 10 minutes. This year, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won his seventh consecutive title by downing a record-breaking 69 hot dogs and buns. There is also a woman’s competition, and the winner of the title this year was Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, who consumed 36 and ¾ hot dogs.
19. Katz’s Delicatessen World Pastrami Eating Championship: New York
Katz’s Deli has been a landmark in New York since its opening 125 years ago, serving delicious pastrami sandwiches to New Yorkers and visitors alike. In their ten minute all you can eat contest, the best competitive eaters in the world take down the favorite pastrami sandwiches and can win up to $3,750! The winner this year was the famed Joey “Jaws” Chestnut.
18. Hooters World Wing Eating Championship: Florida
Taking place at the original Hooters location in Florida, this competition has a series of preliminary qualifying rounds until the eventual showdown when the champ is crowned the Hooters wing-eating champion. The total prize adds up to $12,500 and last year's winner, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, won by eating a total of 144 wings.
17. John Ascuaga's Nugget World Rib-Eating Championship: Nevada
This meat-eating contest draws big names to Sparks, Nev., to compete for the $5,000 cash prize for first place (the top five eaters all receive a prize). The challenge is to eat as many ribs as possible in 12 minutes. The competition can get messy, and last year's winner was Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who consumed 8 pounds of meat to win the title.
16. 2013 World Pumpkin Pie Eating Championship: New York
In Clarence, N.Y., people gather to enjoy a true American fall favorite, pumpkin pie. Visitors can also participate in the pumpkin pie-eating competition. Last year’s winner, Jamie "Bear" McDonald won the event in 2012 by consuming 33 slices of pumpkin pie in 10 minutes.
15. RibMania at Ribfest Chicago XV: Illinois
In this eight-minute test of human versus baby back ribs, fans gather in Chicago to watch competitive eaters take down as much barbecue as they can. The prize is $4,000, and of course, the glory of being crowned winner. The popular festival raises money for local charities and celebrates the city with delicious ribs and music.
14. California State Corndog Eating Contest
At the California State Fair (held from mid to late July), visitors can participate in the corn-dog-eating contest, held annually. The hot dog on a stick is a fair favorite, and participants gather to watch the competitors eat as many of the deep-fried food as possible. The first-place winner this year will receive $2,500, with other competitors winning smaller sums as well.
13. The Magnify Credit Union World Ice Cream Eating Championship: Florida
This chilly competition occurred this past April at the first Florida Ice Cream Festival. The proceeds of the event go to supporting financial literacy in local schools. The winner of the eating contest was Joey Chestnut, who ate 11.5 pints of ice cream in six minutes.
12. Niko Niko World Championship Gyro Eating Contest: Texas
Sponsored by Niko Niko’s Greek and American Café, this competition features competitors facing a full plate of delicious gyros. First place wins $2,000, and this year's winner was Joey Chestnut with a record 22 and a quarter gyros in 10 minutes. Two newcomers, Matt "The Megatoad" Stonie and Miki Sudo won second and third place, respectively.
11. Western Days Festival World Tamale Eating Championship: Texas
Food champs from around the world gather for the Tamale Eating Championship, a part of the Western Days Festival in Lewisville, Texas. At the event, held each September, participants try to eat as many tamales as possible. The cash prize was won last year by Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, one of the most successful competitive eaters in the country.
10. Oktoberfest Zinzinnati World Bratwurst-Eating Championship: Ohio
Taking place at America’s largest Oktoberfest, this competition has a cash prize of around $2,000. The festival occurs in September and contestants try to eat as many bratwursts as they can in 10 minutes. The winner in 2012 (and the seven-time winner of the Nathan’s Hot-Dog-Eating Contest) was Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, with 37 bratwursts (short of his world record of 42).
9. Acme Oyster Eating World Championship: Louisiana
The New Orleans Oyster Festival celebrates the delicious oysters served throughout the city at various restaurants. A highlight of the festival is the Oyster-Eating Contest, sponsored by Acme Oyster House. Contenders are required to use forks (they are not allowed to lift the oyster and slurp it down) and all oysters must be cleared from their tray before starting another one. In 2010, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas won the competition with a record 47 dozen oysters in just eight minutes. This year, Thomas took the top prize again, albeit with only 24 dozen oysters.
8. The Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship: California
When dumplings taste this good, why stop after just 200? This competition takes place at the Nisei Week Foundation Festival in Los Angeles, and the cash prizes add up to $6,000. Last years winner was Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who ate a record 266 dumplings in 10 minutes.
7. World’s Grits Festival: South Carolina
In the small town of St. George, S.C., participants gather to celebrate a Southern favorite at the World Grits Festival. The festival has two grits competitions: rolling in the grits (participants roll in a pool of grits and attempt to cover themselves completely in the food) and a grits-eating competition, in which competitors race to finish their bowl the fastest.
6. Cheese Curd Festival: Wisconsin
The cheese state celebrates its love for cheese curds at the annual Cheese Curd Festival. The festival is filled with various activities, but the day wouldn’t be complete without a cheese-curd-eating competition. The competition has a variety of age categories, from 7 and under to 16 and up. The winners in each category receive a trophy, $10, and, of course, bragging rights.
5. The Stockton Asparagus Festival: California
This festival celebrates the vegetable and raises money for local charities. One of the activities at the celebratory festival is the eating contest, in which participants eat deep-fried asparagus. This year, Matthew "The Megatoad" Stonie beat out Joey "Jaws" Chestnut by eating 9.5 pounds of the deep-fried vegetable.
4. Stuffed Quahog Eating Contest: Massachusetts
Competitors gather at the Stuffed Quahog-Eating Contest to consume as many stuffed quahogs in 90 seconds as their body will allow. The quahog is another name for a hard-shelled clam, which is particularly abundant between Cape Cod and New Jersey. Last year's winner was Rich Rogers, who consumed seven stuffed quahogs in 90 seconds.
3. World Kimichi Eating Championship: Illinois
Held in Chicago at the Korean Festival, the Kimchi-Eating Championship features the national dish of Korea, kimchi. The dish is made of spiced vegetables, mainly napa cabbage, radishes, cucumbers, and scallions, and is known for its health benefits. The contest is to see who can eat the most in eight minutes.
2. World Slugburger Eating Championship: Mississippi
This contest features a local favorite, the Slugburger, a burger made of a mixture of beef and breading that's then deep-fried instead of grilled. The standard garnish is a pickle, onion, and mustard, and the winner can recieve up to $3,000. In 2012, the winner was Matt "The Megatoad" Stonie, who consumed 30 burgers in 10 minutes.
1. Annual Testicle Festival: Montana
This unique festival is held annually in Clinton, Mont., and features a variety of contests, including a wet T-shirt contest. But the strangest (and most disgusting) of the competitions is the Ball-Eating Contest. The food of choice is deep-fried bull’s testicles (available in different varieties), which the festival is dedicated to.