If there was ever any doubt that Johnny Saltarella is a local celebrity, consider the turn out for last year’s hot dog eating contest. More than a thousand people crowded into the parking lot of Eastside Marketplace to watch 10 contestants wolf down as many hotdogs as they could in 10 mintues.
This year’s event is only promising to be bigger.
“Last year was a huge success, “Saltarella said. “[I] listen to the guys on the street talk about it–who’s going to eat who under the table–it’s going to be huge.”
The stage is set for this year’s contest; Aug. 25 at Eastside Marketplace, 10 athletes will again square off and scarf down. Among them are two men whose rivalry set the stage for high drama during last year’s contest.
After 10 minutes, crowd favorite Beau Chisholm and dark horse Brian Morris were deadlocked. As a result of a tiebreaker dog, Morris came out on top as the first ever NY Johnny Hot Dog Eating Contest champion.
“Beau was the ultimate competitor, he really got the crowd going. This sleeping giant walks in there, and people barely notice him,” Saltarella said.
According to Saltarella. The field this year is shaping up to be much more competitive than last year. He said that the application process to compete became a lot more selective.
Last year, people came in from all over the Palouse to watch the contest.
“There’s so much excitement going on,” Saltarella said. “It’s a great time for everyone. One last hurrah as far as summertime events go.”
Joseph Engle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org