We're not sure why, but there's always been a special in Gothamist's heart for eating competitions. While the most famous eating contest in the world is more than a month away, there was another eating competition involving hot dogs this afternoon. In Red Hook this afternoon, Schnack held its 2nd Annual Schnack Stahl-Meyer Hot Dog Eating Contest. The six competitors on hand were each given one 30" Stahl-Meyer hot dog baked on a French bread bun from Caputo's Bakery. [Gothamist later tried a portion of the hot dog and it was quite tasty, but 30"?!? No way.] Estimated normal dog equivalent - 6-7 normal hot dogs, 2.5 foot long hot dogs.

Before the start of the competition, the defending champion "Gentleman" Joe Menchetti said that his goal was finishing in under a minute - a goal that he stated might not be realistic. It turned out that it wasn't much of a competition. Menchetti (pictured in the 2nd photo) blew away the field, finishing his two and a half foot frank in 1 minute 53 seconds. Menchetti said that his only form of training was chewing gum to strengthen his jaw and that he chewed as little as possible. And believe it or not, the man has actually lost weight this year according to his wife. Menchetti's son currently has no designs in following in his fathers footsteps.

The rules of the Schnack Stahl-Meyer Hot Dog Eating Contest differ from those at Nathan's on July 4th. Mandated by the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, the eaters had to follow "picnic style" rules. Arnie "Chowhound" Chapman, the emcee of the event and winner of Carnegie Deli's pickle eating competition earlier this week, explained that with these rules you could not desecrate the hot dog. No separation of bun and dog, no dipping in water, etc. The dog must be eaten the way it was intended - the way one would eat at a picnic.

Gothamist is happy to report that we didn't see any regurgitation of hot dogs at the event.

Photos by Tien Mao