February is a slow month for sports. Football is in full-on offseason mode after the Super Bowl. Basketball and hockey continue to slog through their long seasons toward the playoffs. Baseball emerges from hibernation for spring training. At best, the games in February only kind of matter. It’s a time for looking ahead.
And like any good tailgater, we at Tailgate Fan are looking forward to our next meal, and someone else’s next stomach ache. The competitive eating season — and the food — starts to heat up in February, and will keep going all summer long. Here’s a look ahead at some of the best competitive eating events on the calendar for 2015:
Florida Strawberry Festival
February 26 – March 8, 2015
Not one, not two, but a total of five eating contests are scheduled during the Florida Strawberry Festival held in Plant City, Florida this year. Gobble up strawberry shortcake, strawberry spaghetti, fried corn on the cob, corn dogs or strawberry mashed potato pie in the bright Florida sun. What better way to escape this nasty winter, and scoop up a trophy and bragging rights in the process? Head over to the festival’s website for dates and rules.
Windjammer Days Festival Lobster Eating Contest
June 24, 2015
In most parts of the country, a decent lobster will lighten your wallet much more than it will fill your stomach. Not so in Maine, which is why they can have a lobster-eating contest like this annual event at the Windjammer Days Festival in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Can you crack the lobster’s shell and consume the meat at record speed? Contestants purchase two lobsters, and the first to eat their lobsters — claws, knuckles, tails and all — wins. There’s not time to savor this delicious treat, if you’re looking to win.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
July 4, 2015
There’s eating a hot dog or two at your friend’s backyard cookout, and then there’s scarfing down a whole platter full of hot dogs in 10 minutes. That’s where Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, the grandaddy of competitive eating events, comes in. Held in Coney Island each summer, Nathan’s is no leisurely stroll along the boardwalk. Joey Chestnut consumed 69 hot dogs to capture the men’s record; Sonya Thomas scarfed down 45 to earn the women’s record. With television coverage and many of the world’s best eaters participating, Nathan’s is the highpoint on the competitive eating calendar. Participants must earn their place at the table in one of the many qualifiers leading up to the main event. Major League Eating (MLE), the sport’s governing body, has all the information.
The World Slugburger Eating Championship
July 11, 2015
For an eating contest that’s slightly off the beaten path, head to Corinth, Mississippi, for the World Slugburger Eating Championship. And what is a slugburger? According to the festival’s website, it’s “a deep-fried beef and soy meal patty that once sold for a nickel (then called a slug).” Normal people can consume two of these in a meal. Megatoad Matt Stonie managed 43 to win in 2014. In addition to a full stomach, the winner pockets $1,500. MLE has more information on the event’s page.
Fifth Annual World Brat Eating Championship
September 20, 2015
Big drinks and big eats… celebrate Oktoberfest in a big way this year at the fifth annual World Brat Eating Championship, held during Oktoberfest Zinzinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. Competitors inhale as many brats sans buns as possible in 10 minutes. Think you and your gut are up to the challenge? Then keep in mind the current world record stands at 70 brats, held by Chestnut. Some serious cash is on the table too; last year’s total prize purse was $2,000. The brat-eating contest is just one activity during the three-day festival, billed as the largest Oktoberfest in the U.S.