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Man downs 22 hot dogs to win contest

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July 4, 1996
Web posted at: 10:10 p.m. EDT

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Hungry? Apparently Edward Krachie was, Thursday. He gulped down 22 hot dogs, bun included, to win the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest at Coney Island. (1.1MB QuickTime movie)

Twenty gustatory gladiators competed. Mike DeVito had high hopes for victory. "I love hot dogs. I love all types of food. But hot dogs are up there with my favorites," he said.

After taking second place, DeVito declared he was "retired."

"That's it. Time to move on. Maybe hamburgers," he said.

Krachie, of Queens, also won last year. The 6-foot-6-inch, 300-pound winner beat DeVito by two hot dogs. Later he went to a celebration barbecue.

Krachie also broke the world record, held by Frank "Large" Dellarosa, of Maspeth in Queens. Dellarosa downed 21 1/2 hot dogs and buns in 1991.

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Judges say hot dog competition is stiff, and they have to keep a close eye to make sure that nobody puts any hot dogs on anybody else's plate. "There is absolutely no throwing up in this contest. You're eliminated," judge Laura Porter said.

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Porter also pointed out a "famous technique" the competitors employed, "the dipping of the hot dog in the bucket of water, because it condenses the bun and makes it easier to eat."

The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating Contest has been held each year since Nathan's opened in 1916, except in 1939, 1940 and 1941, when it was canceled to protest the war in Europe.

According to organizer George Shea, it originated as a contest between two or three immigrants who swallowed the pseudo-sausages to determine which of them was the most patriotic on the Fourth of July.

Competitors have traveled from around the world to compete in the 12-minute-long contest.


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