Unleash your best hot dog-eating abilities

Unleash your best hot dog-eating abilities
According to legend, on July 4, 1916, four immigrants had a hot dog eating contest at Coney Island to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic.

After 12 minutes, James Mullen had eaten 13 hot dogs and was crowned the victor.

Citizens from the Vermillion area will have an opportunity to become a part of local folklore when Hy-Vee Food stores hosts the first annual Vermillion Hot Dog Eating Championship.

The event will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 28, in the store's parking lot, weather permitting.

"Our four major sponsors – the Broadcaster Press, Coca-Cola, Sara Lee and Farmland foods – are excited to team up with us on our first annual Hot Dog Eating Championship of Vermillion. We look forward to working with them each and every year," said Ron Avery, Hy-Vee store manager.

People interested in participating may stop by the Hy-Vee store and register at the customer service counter.

The contest will feature three competitions: one for women, one for men and one for children ages 13 and under.

The first-place winners in the female and male divisions will each receive $100. Second-place winners will receive $50.

The first-place prize in the children's division is $50. The second-place recipient will be awarded $25.

"There should be lots of fun and excitement with the hot dog eating contest and the huge one-day sale event," Avery said.

Contestants shouldn't be too disappointed if they can't keep up with James Mullen's pace of eating just over one hot dog per minute back in 1916.

Just a few weeks ago, on July 4, Joey Chestnut won the annual event at Coney Island by downing a world record-breaking 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

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