There is, perhaps, nothing more American than watching a bunch of adults stuff their faces with enough hot dogs to feed an entire school. Give me freedom, give me fireworks and give me Joey Chestnut shoving his face with over 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes on Coney Island on the Fourth of July. Somewhere George Washington must be cracking a small smile at just the thought of this gluttony.

Each Fourth of July I make it a point to watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. It’s a test of skill, endurance and a good jaw, as the over zealous announcers usually repeat over and over again during the broadcast. The rest of my family, on the other hand, would prefer to stay outside in the lake, or really do anything else besides watch the annual hot dog eating contest. 

Either that, or they are sick of me reliving the glory days of my time in high school when I won the pie eating contest during our senior homecoming pep fest. I kid you not that I ate my pie, got cleaned up and did a victory lap around the gym, before anyone else was even half way done with their pie. 

In college I had a similar ability to win contests, albeit of a different kind, when I could drink “pop” faster than most other people as well. I could make our drink go down even faster when I cut a hole in the bottom of the can. 

While hot dogs, and in my case pie, may get the most recognition for eating things faster than necessary, there are hundreds of annual eating contests for everything like jalapenos to pizza. 

Here are a few of the world records:

• Joey Chestnut holds the record of 76 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes (this article was written before this year’s contest so it may be even more now).

• Don Lerman holds the record of eating 7 quarter- pound sticks of salted butter in just 5 minutes. There was no word on whether he then ingested popcorn for an extra tasty treat.

• Patrick Bertoletti holds the world record for eating 3 lbs. 11.75 oz. of rocky mountain oysters in just 10 minutes. A friend of mine once told me rocky mountain oysters taste just like chicken—I will just take their word for it and eat chicken instead. 

• Nick Wehry holds the world record for eating 50 hardboiled eggs in 3:04. He was the first to finish in the contest, but I think we can all agree that in the end he probably ended losing (it).

• Geoffrey Esper holds the world record for eating 281 Hooters chicken wings in 10 minutes. It didn’t say if he had to eat the bone or not, but I am assuming he got a pass on those. 

• One of the oldest records I could find was set back in 2015 when Matt Stonie ate 182 strips of Smithfield Bacon in just 5 minutes. As a person who had their gallbladder removed a few years ago I know what eating that much bacon in 6 months can do to a person, let alone in just 5 minutes.

• Bob Shoudt holds the world record, which dates back to 2010, of eating 36 peanut butter and banana sandwiches in 10 minutes. 

• Joey Chestnut holds the world record after eating 257 Hostess Donettes in just 6 minutes. 

• Finally, since we are in Minnesota we have to give some representation to SPAM. Geoffrey Esper holds the world record for eating 9 3/4 lbs. of delicious Austin, Minn. made SPAM in just 8 minutes. Anyone else hungry?