Cram It: Major League Eating Contests

  1. Near-Impossible Feats
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    Near-Impossible Feats

    In its 13-year history, Major League Eating has witnessed some remarkable achievements. While it may be hard to hit .400 over the course of a baseball season, or rush for 2,000 yards during 16 football games, it's really, really hard to eat 44 lobsters in 12 minutes, or 30 matzo balls in less than six minutes, or 44 cupcakes in eight minutes. Best known of the contests is the hot dog eating competition at Brooklyn's Coney Island on Independence Day. Here's how grueling the contest can be. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Getty Images
  2. Gathering at Coney Island
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    Gathering at Coney Island

    Competitive eaters participate in the 2010 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y. Joey Chestnut won the International Federation of Competitive Eating event, eating 54 hot dogs, while rival Takeru Kobayashi did not compete due to a contract dispute with sanctioning body Major League Eating. Kobayashi was subsequently arrested for attempting to hop a barricade and get on stage after the event. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Getty Images
  3. The Promoters
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    The Promoters

    George Shea, right, and his brother Richard run the International Federation of Competitive Eating and the Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photographer: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times/Redux
  4. Step Right Up
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    Step Right Up

    Richard Shea warms up the crowd on June 8 before the start of the Pittsburgh contest, where competitors tried to win entry to this year's Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4. Photographer: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/ZUMA Press
  5. Did the Elephants Lose?
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    Did the Elephants Lose?

    Tim "Gravy" Brown, left, and Juliet Lee scarfed it down at the first Human vs. Elephant hot dog bun eating contest on July 3, 2009. The competition featured three Ringling Brothers Asian elephants and three Major League Eaters. Photographer: Hanina Manolova/AP PHOTO
  6. Heading for Victory
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    Heading for Victory

    Joey Chestnut, right, stands next to fellow competitor Tim Janus as Chestnut downs hot dogs on his way to winning the 2010 Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photographer: Stephen Chernin/AP PHOTO
  7. Ready, Set, Go!
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    Ready, Set, Go!

    Competitors at the Southern California contest on June 12 attempt to win entry to the Coney Island ordeal on July 4. Photographer: Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press/Corbis
  8. Stuffing It In
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    Stuffing It In

    Pete Pretty Boy Davekos takes part in the World Poutine Eating Championship in Toronto on May 22, 2010. Contestants had 10 minutes to eat as much poutine, a dish consisting of french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy, as they could to win the championship. Photographer: Mark Blinch/REUTERS
  9. Anything You Can Do
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    Anything You Can Do

    Joey Chestnut, left, faces off against Bob Shoudt during the weigh-in ceremony for the 2010 Coney Island battle. Photographer: Lucas Jackson/REUTERS
  10. In the Home Stretch
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    In the Home Stretch

    Joey Chestnut takes the lead over Takeru Kobayashi at the 2009 Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Photographer: Dennis Van Tine/Retna/Corbis
  11. And Still Champion
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    And Still Champion

    In 2009, Joey Chestnut, left, celebrated his third consecutive victory in the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest and set a world record by eating 68 hot dogs and buns. Photographer: Craig Ruttle/AP PHOTO
  12. Challenging Plateful
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    Challenging Plateful

    Hot dogs on display on stage at the 2010 Coney Island contest. Photorgapher: Michael Nagle/Getty Images