Top 8 Most Disgusting Competitive Eaters
Controversy is brewing at this year's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, set for the Fourth of July: News came this week that former champion and competitive-eating rock star Takeru Kobayashi may not show this weekend because of a contract dispute over how much he'll be paid for attending.
If you are less than floored by that announcement, it might help to know that Kobayashi is the Babe Ruth of competitive eating, the man who essentially put Nathan's nearly 100-year-old event on the pop culture map in 2001 when he shattered the previous hot-dog-eating record (25) by scarfing an astounding 50 dogs and buns. That watershed victory more or less launched the competitive-eating craze, and it's why the Nathan's event has even been televised on ESPN.
But let's be honest. Gob-stuffing contests may have taken on the airs of a pseudo sporting event, but they're mostly about watching people make revolting pigs of themselves. We may be impressed by the contestants' porking-out prowess, but it's the humiliation and stomach-churning mess that draw the crowds. And so, in the true spirit of this weekend's hot-dog-eating contest, we present this list of the world's Top 8 Most Disgusting Competitive Eaters.
8. Takeru "the Tsunami" Kobayashi Actually, for a competitive eater, the Japanese Kobayashi is damn near fastidious is his eating habits, but he gets honorable mention here for his contributions to the sport. For example, he perfected the nauseating art of dunking his hot dog buns in water to create a soggy mush that goes down faster. He also gets extra disgusting points for his world record in consuming cow brains: 17.7 pounds in 15 minutes.
7. Joey Chestnut Professional eater Chestnut is ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (yes, there is such a thing) and he has beaten Kobayashi three straight times at the Nathan's event, setting a world record last year of 68 dogs and buns. But while he may be the world's most formidable eater, but he's not a particularly filthy one, and he ranks no better than 7 on this list. He is known for his records in hot dogs and asparagus (yawn), but to his credit he has set marks in much messier foods like chicken wings (7.5 pounds in 12 minutes), Philly cheesesteaks (19 sandwiches in 10 minutes), and pulled pork (9 pounds, 6 ounces in 10 minutes).
6. Don "Moses" Lerman Lerman is no slouch of a competitive eater, but he makes this list for one reason: He holds the record for the single most disgusting food ever competitively eaten: butter. He once downed seven quarter-pound sticks in 5 minutes.
5. Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas The top woman in competition (No. 5 in the world), the petite, 105-pound Virginian isn't afraid to get down and dirty in some of the most repellent food competitions around. Her impressively revolting records include baked beans (8.4 pounds in 2 minutes, 47 seconds) and chili cheese fries (8 pounds, 2 ounces in 10 minutes).
4. "Humble" Bob Shoudt Professional eater "Humble" Bob Shoudt, ranked second in the world, is perhaps best known for eating 33 1/2 burritos in 10 minutes at the 2009 World Burrito Eating Championship. A vegetarian except when competing, his gluttony resume contains a notably offensive list of championships, including beef brisket (more than 34 sandwiches in 10 minutes) and peanut butter and banana sandwiches (36 in 10 minutes) But his most disgusting accomplishment may be his 2009 victory in the Skyline Chili Spaghetti Championships, when he crammed his gullet with nearly 14 pounds of the stuff in 10 minutes.
3. The kid from the barf scene in Stand by Me Okay, he's fictional--he's the actor in the immortal pie-eating scene from the movie Stand by Me. But let him represent all the contestants at pie-eating contests at county fairs and church picnics across America. A beloved classic, hands-free pie-eating may be the original American competitive eating contest, and it's still the most nauseating. (By the way, if you haven't seen or don't remember the barf scene from Stand by Me, you owe yourself a look.)
2. Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti Easily one of the most disgusting eaters on the competitive circuit, the fourth-ranked Bertoletti doesn't just eat his food, he nearly bathes in it. Adding to the aesthetic charm, the Chicagoan sports that most flattering of haircuts, a trademark mohawk. Bertoletti seems to relish diving into the world's fithiest foods. He records include poutine (13 pounds of gravy-and-cheese-covered fries in 10 minutes), pizza (47 slices in 10 minutes), blueberry pie (hands-free; 9.17 pounds in 8 minutes), chicken wings (4.1 pounds in 8 minutes), and--not particularly messy but impressive nonetheless--jalapeno peppers (275 pickled chilies in 10 minutes).
1. Tim "Gravy" Brown Tim Brown is ranked a modest 10th in the world, so why is he first on this list of disgusting eaters? The key is in his nickname. The name "Gravy" was not bestowed, as you might expect, because it's a favorite food, or because of his single unremarkable record for eating potato wedges (3.75 pounds in 8 minutes). No, Brown got his nickname because his nose won't stop running during eating competitions. He has been quoted as saying, "It doesn't matter what it is, snot, water, you've just got to shove it down." Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
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