Hotdog eating contestants battle for taste of victory

  • A total of 11 participants came to downtown Dahlonega to compete for a $100 prize and the honor of being the first Fourth of July hot dog eating contest champion.
    A total of 11 participants came to downtown Dahlonega to compete for a $100 prize and the honor of being the first Fourth of July hot dog eating contest champion.

Eleven competitors, 10 minutes, 4,350 calories, but only one champion.
Locals and visitors alike packed around Chastain Southern Catering and Outback Cafe to watch or partake in Dahlonega’s inaugural Fourth of July hot dog eating contest on Thursday.
“The support was unbelievable in this community, we are just humbly blessed,” Missy Chastain, the cafe’s owner said. “I just kind of thought it would just be local people and we had people from all around.”
While the local participants made up most of the table, all eyes were on one particular outsider. Dale Boone.
Boone, a Brookhaven native, has been a competitive eater for 20 years and even competed on the Nathan’s Hot Dog circuit. In 2007, Boone competed alongside hot dog eating legends Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut in Coney Island at The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, where he finished in 11th place by eating 25 hotdogs in 12 minutes. Since then he’s travelled the world for competitive eating and owns two competitive eating world records (Russian Dumplings and Reindeer Sausage).
With his reputation, Boone also brought a lot of strategy with him to the table.
“You always want to get the protein-enzymes out of the way first,” Boone said. “Carbohydrates are the hardest to digest, protein is the easiest.”
The rules were simple: each participant received 15 hot dogs and 10 minutes to eat them. The winner would be the first to eat all 15 or the participant that ate the most if no one emptied their basket. The winner would walk away with a $100 prize in their hands and a hot dog hat on their head.
As Chastain counted down and the crowd began to cheer, the participants stood with clear eyes, a full heart and an empty stomach before digging in. Then the command was given. Eat.
Boone picked apart his hot dogs, eating all 15 hot dogs before starting in on the buns. Across the table, Sheriff Stacy Jarrard gingerly ate both dog and bun at once, as though on a nice summer picnic.
“I wasn’t too excited about eating a lot of hot dogs,” Jarrard said. “[I ate] not hardly two, just about one and three-quarters.”
At a time of six minutes and seven seconds, the contest was over as Boone swallowed the last handful of buns and opened his mouth wide for Chastain to declare it empty. Bystanders erupted into applause and cheers, having just watched a true spectacle as well as Dahlonega history.
“To win in my home state? It means a lot,” Boone said. “To come up here in Dahlonega, this is the first Fourth of July that I’ve stayed at home in 20 years.”
“Brookhaven came and knocked us all out fairly quick,” Jarrard said of the professional eater. “I look forward to the challenge next year. I won’t eat lunch next year and I’ll be ready to take him on.”
As for competitive eating in Dahlonega, Chastain believes the new Fourth of July tradition is here to stay.
“To look out into the street and see that crowd of people, it teared me up,” Chastain said. “Hopefully one day we’ll expand to Hancock Park and be one of the main events on that day.”