A Judge of Hot-Dog Eating Contest Rules for Kobi

Without Kobi in the Nathan’s Famous Hot-Dog eating contest this year, justice was not served, eaten or swallowed. Six-time champ Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi would have upped everybody’s game – and this year’s battle sorely needed that.
As a judge for the July 4 speed-eating competition, I watched as competitor Kris Adams, position number one, crammed hotdogs into his mouth after dipping them in water at a relatively relaxed pace. Adams, who wore a Nathan’s t-shirt, blank stare, and looked like he was about to throw up, downed 11 ½ hotdogs in ten minutes. Anyone can down 11 ½ hotdogs in 10 mintues — even me. As the judge next to me said, “It was like watching water boil.”
So where was Kobi, who last year ate 64 1/2? Far from the judge’s pit and the stage, deep in the crowd, he was jumping up and down and on his friend’s shoulders, yelling to the competitors. The former Nathan’s Famous champ claimed he was barred from the competition for refusing to sign an exclusive contract with a group that sounds, for good or ill, like the NFL of fast-eaters.
Not that Kobi’s “rush to the stage” at the end, and his subsequent arrest, didn’t smack of a publicity stunt. He told interviewers he rushed the stage because he thought they might let him eat but he actually didn’t head up until the eating was long over, when TV crews were busy filming winner Joey Chestnut, eater of an impressive 54 hotdogs, picking up his trophy.
(Last year, Chestnut won with 68).
But this judge rules in favor of Kobi and hopes that on Aug. 5, when he goes to Brooklyn Criminal Court to face charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, that the judge there rules for him, too.