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Hot Dog Anyone? How About 68 of Them in 10 Minutes!

In past Statistics explorations, the idea of food-eating contests has been covered in multiple ways. One example was Sonya Thomas, a 100-pound woman, and her victory at the World Grilled Cheese Eating Contest in New York (2/1/2006). She is known as the "Black Widow" because of her many defeats of larger male competitors.

Thomas participated in this past July 4's Nathan Hotdog Eating Contest (2012) on Coney island (NY). She downed 45 hotdogs/buns (dipped in water) in 10 minutes to take the women's championship...in front of an audience of 40,000 people.

But, she was outeaten by Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut, who ate 68 hotdogs in the same 10 minutes....his personal best, though he was aiming for 70 hotdogs. His prize (in addition to 68 free hotdogs): $10,000 and the "aptly coloured mustard yellow championship belt." Also, he is a 6-time winner for this specific contest, though he is basically a professional speed-eater on the international level.

If you can stomach a video of the contest, try the 2012 contest or the 2011 contest.

Some interesting questions easily arise that need to be explored:

  • At their given rates, how long did it take each of them to eat a single hotdog and bun?
  • At his given rate for eating a single hot dog, how much time must Chestnut shave off his time in order to reach a total of 70 hotdogs in 10 minutes?
  • Estimate the size (volume) and weight of 68 hotdogs...and I wonder where does it all go?
  • If the 68 hotdogs were laid end-to-end (as in a stomach or intestine tract), how long would it reach...(NOTE: The adult intestine tract involves the small intestine (20 feet long) and the large intestine (5 feet long)?
  • Last year Thomas won when she ate 40 hotdogs, while Chestnut won when he ate 62 hotdogs. Based on this, how many hotdogs would you expect them to eat in the 2013 contest? Explain.
NOTE: Medical associations oppose these speed eating contests.