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Tuesday, August 1, 2006
May the best brat win
OK, so I know that every sporting event from major league baseball to competitive tiddlywinks has to run on ESPN. I mean, any 10-year-old knows that. But a sausage-eating contest??
Yes, Saturday ESPN will air the 2006 Johnsonville (Wis.) Brat-Eating World Championship, pitting the "undefeated" top competive eater Takeru Kobayashi against Joey Chestnut and Sonya "the Black Widow" Thomas (I'm not making this up).
Johnsonville brats , or sausage, are the No. 1 brand, according to a press release, and the brat festival, one of several held in the Upper Midwest, has been held annually since 1953. The festival raises money for community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Sheboygan recreation department. But the interest in eating contests, especially televised ones, is much newer. Sort of gustatory reality TV, where people hope to gain fame and fortune -- the brat contest prize is more than $20,000 -- by risking stomachaches or worse.
Somehow, though, describing competitive eaters as athletes and showing the contest on ESPN seems a little, well, unappetizing. Don't eat while you watch.