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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

What Happens If Someone Dies During The Hot Dog Eating Contest?

Illustration for article titled What Happens If Someone Dies During The Hot Dog Eating Contest?
FunbagTime for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag.

Time for your weekly edition of the Deadspin Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, we’re covering pretzels, Canada, prom boning, and more.


Before we get to the Funbag, a quick programming note: There will NOT be a Deadcast this week (we did one last week, even though there was no official post announcing it). Anyway, all four of you who listen to the Deadcast will have to wait until next week for it. The rest of you should carry on as usual with your 4th of July plans. God, these are the deadest two weeks of the year, every year. It’s like the world died.

Also, I’m gonna do some lazy crowdsourcing this week for GREAT MOMENTS IN FIREWORKS FAILURE and WORST SCHOOL FIGHT HORROR STORIES. So if you’ve ever had your arm blown off by an M80 or you’ve ever lost a fight in school (or both!), get in touch with me at the email link above.


Now, your letters:


So what happens if a competitor chokes on a hot dog and dies onstage during Nathan’s hot dog eating contest? A time out to remove the body? Everyone keeps eating and just ignores it? Do they call the contest right there and award the win to the leader at the time of death? Or just cancel it forever?

This actually happened a year ago at a hot dog eating contest in the appropriately named town of Custer City, S.D. A man named Walter Eagle Tail choked to death during the event. As a result, festival organizers canceled a pie-eating contest that was scheduled for the next day, no doubt foiling Lardass’ master plan to barf all over Bossman Bob Cormier. CHOW DOWN, WIDE LOAD.

I scanned through all the press clippings from Eagle Tail’s death but couldn’t find anything that said whether or not the contest was allowed to keep going (my guess would be that the contest ended as he was choking, or it was stopped after everyone realized something was amiss).


There is also no indication that the same contest will be held at Way Park this weekend. The original article says, “Wheeler said he was not sure if the death will prompt organizers to make changes to the contest next year.” I don’t know what changes they could make, given that paramedics were already on hand for the contest. “NEW RULE: PLEASE DON’T CHOKE.” Major League Eating, which is something that exists, took great pains to note that the Custer tragedy was not an officially sanctioned hot dog eating contest. It was a black market wiener jam!

I contacted Nathan’s to ask about the prospect of a contestant dying at this year’s 4th of July contest. Here now is my full email exchange with their PR rep:

NATHAN’S: Hi Drew, I am leading the media efforts for the Fourth of July Hot Dog-Eating contest. Would love to help you with any information you need. Thanks.

ME: Oh, excellent. Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. My question was: if someone chokes to death during the contest, is the contest discontinued by rule? Or is it a play-it-by-ear thing?

NATHAN’S: Safety has always been a priority for Major League Eating. Emergency Medical personnel will be present and at the ready on July 4th. In fact, EMTs are present at all MLE events both large and small. Thanks.

ME: Okay, but what if someone dies anyway? Obviously you’d do all you could to prevent something bad from happening, but are there contingency plans in case?

NATHAN’S: [No reply.]

My guess is that the contest would be stopped to attend to Joey Chestnut mid-choke and that the title would be vacated. All hot dogs consumed thereafter would be left half-eaten in memoriam. The contest would go on as scheduled the following year, with a moment of silent farting for the fallen. That’s the classy move.



I’m sick of these stupid teasers at the end of Marvel movies. I’ve already sat through two and a half hours of what is most likely an overhyped movie. Why do I need to endure another five minutes to watch all of the credits for some 30- to 60-second clip that I can just watch on YouTube?


They’re getting worse. Age of Ultron had TWO “hidden” end-credit scenes, and Ant-Man will also have a pair of them. Even Entourage had a bonus scene. I’m not kidding: After the end credits, Ari’s assistant gets married, and then the whole crew gets together and they’re like, “Boy, this would make a cool TV show!” And, fin. Now you know. I think you’re stronger for it.

Anyway, these bonus scenes are a scourge. They were clearly cooked up by union organizers at BIG GAFFER to ensure that Richie, the electrician, has his end credit viewed by a captive audience. Marvel also uses end-credit sequences to throw out a cameo appearance from their next E-list superhero (ZOMG! IT’S GRASSMAN! he can control the grass!) so that fanboys shit their dicks (it takes nothing to get a fanboy excited) and save up $12 for the next shitty Marvel movie. They’re ads. If you like them, you are a fucking sheep.


Any material that’s good enough to be in the movie should be in the movie. Otherwise, I would prefer to go the fuck home. One day, they’re gonna make a movie that’s just a series of 90 trailers, distributed in stages across various media platforms. Check out the 86th minute of Grassman on Hulu! There was only movie that ever justified its bonus scene, and that was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I am not crackpot. GET OFF MY LAWN. EVEN YOU, GRASSMAN.


Rank pretzel shapes for me. Mine is minis, twists, rods, then those little sticks. What shapes am I forgetting? But you can’t deny the sticks are a hate crime—you can’t pick up any amount of dip with them.


My kids love those little sticks dipped in cream cheese, and I always break them when I attempt to drag them through a tub of Philly. The silver lining is that all broken pretzel sticks are for ME, so I get high on my supply. So much broken-pretzel goodness.

Anyway, here is my pretzel ranking:

1. Rod. So sturdy. So strong. Can withstand dipping and/or being smothered in dark chocolate and rainbow sprinkles.


2. Big, soft pretzel knot. I took my kids on a road trip last week, and at a rest stop, the 9-year-old got a cinnamon pretzel at Auntie Anne’s. This thing was covered in 90 pounds of cinnamon and dripping with grease. I’m not even sure it qualifies as a pretzel. It’s a Cinnabon in pretzel clothing. Anyway, it was good. I regret nothing.

Also: in Germany, they serve HUGE soft pretzels in the beer gardens, and the Germans slather them with soft butter. They may be humorless supremacists, but they know their way around a pretzel.


3. Small knot. Bite-sized. No mess. Aesthetically pleasing. The go-to snack of airport lounges the world over. Often covered in frosting disguised as “yogurt.” Sure it’s yogurt, buddy. I bet those are super-healthy for you.

4. Those little grid things. Like math, but you can eat it!

5. Nub. Bite-sized. No mess. Often dusted in powdered industrial flavoring.

6. Pretzel pieces. Ditto.

7. Thin knots. Whatever.

8. Olde-timey hard sourdough knots. These fuckers shatter with just the slightest tooth pressure. One bite and I’m holding a fistful of shards. It’s bullshit. And they’re hard as rocks! You need a rock crusher to break them down properly. I’ve had enough of those fuckers.



How does the best team in the CFL finish in major college football? For the sake of this argument, say the Calgary Stampeders (last year’s champs, had to Google this) was placed in the SEC East for the 2015 season. I say they finish last because of the talent disparity (they start like 10 Canadians), but my buddy insists that their age and experience trumps the bottom of the SEC.


Last in the SEC East? Fuck no. No way. IT’S MEN VERSUS BOYS, NICK. And that division is garbage (the West, by comparison, is murderous). I’m not gonna fuck up this question like I did the Serena Williams thing from a couple weeks ago. The Stampeders roster includes MANY players from D-I schools, including the legendary Drew Tate. They’re not finishing last. Assuming it’s 11-on-11 on a standard American football field, and there’s time to prepare, the CFL team is winning that division, and they probably beat Nick Saban’s Bad-Time Murder Factory in the conference title game (FACT: Blake Sims, the Tide’s QB last season, was just cut from a CFL team). Just to be certain, I asked Canadian person Bruce Arthur if a CFL team would win the SEC. His reply: “The best one? I say probably to definitely. CFL teams are basically a sort of college football B all-star team, and they’re pros. But the rules make a big difference. CFL team would need some time to practice.”

Got it? They win that division. They ain’t quaking in their boots at the prospect of toppling Missouri.



If the democratically elected government of British Columbia sent a petition to Washington D.C. asking to become the 51st state, what should the U.S. do?

a) Laugh it off, for the sake of good U.S.-Canada relations

b) Shrug it off, because Canadians will never have the correct mindset to be True Americans

c) Mediate between BC and the Canadian government to sugarcoat our impending land grab

d) Send in the Marines

e) Grab the Yukon too and make the BC Lions join the NFL

Obviously, we would have to annex BC and make their football team part of the SEC. Seriously though, if British Columbia ever attempted to defect to the United States, I assume we would politely decline to accept them, even though we shouldn’t. British Columbia has all the good weed and timber. We should snatch that shit away from Canada and then smoke all that weed right in front of them. Fuck are you gonna do about it, Canucks? We got all your good kush. And we’re coming for Ontario next. Soon, you’ll be reduced to nothing but a series of igloos. WE OWN YOU. Try to stop us. What are you gonna do: throw maple candy at our soldiers?



Would you rather be one of the wealthiest people in the 1940s, or be in the middle/upper middle class in 2015? Let’s say you would be a one-percenter in the ’40s or have an HHI of 250k in 2015.


I’m taking the 250k in 2015, especially if I live somewhere cheap like Kansas or whatever. You can live like a god on that much money provided you aren’t stupid enough to live in New York or San Francisco. You can have a big house and a pool and a fancy sound system for your television. I know it would be tempting to travel back in time and be a rail baron in 1940 and throw lavish parties at your Hamptons estate. YOU ARE GATSBY. You’d also get to make political power plays and crush your enemies with your largesse. But you’d have no TV or web access. What would you do then? Read? Travel on steamships? Talk to people and grow as a person? That sounds awful. I’m not giving up all the cushy accoutrements of 21st-century living just to be a wartime oligarch. They didn’t even have comfy shoes back then.


What percent of guys have sex with their actual prom date on prom night?

Since I didn’t get laid on prom night (I went with a friend who already had a boyfriend; when I begged her for a hookup, she gave me a pity kiss on the lips), I say that roughly TWO percent of all prom dates end in proper consummation. That’s it. If the percentage is any higher, I don’t wanna know about it. I’d prefer to think that everyone is either too drunk or too emotionally conflicted or too busy rescuing their best friend from “Big Chad” to get laid that night. All I got was a kiss, god dammit. If all you TEENS are out there fucking in the back of a limousine when I couldn’t even cop a feel, you can all go to hell.




In the song “Don’t You Want Me” by the Human League, I’ve always been unsure whom to root for, since they both make somewhat compelling arguments. Is this a case of the guy actually making it all happen for this chick, just to be dumped when things got rolling for her, or is he just a controlling, underachieving asshole who is jealous of her well-earned success?

I think her line about “I still love you” is a bunch of shit she says so that their mutual acquaintances don’t think she’s a gold-digger for leaving him once her prospects improved. Just curious what others think since it’s been bugging me for 34 goddamn years.


I think he’s a controlling asshole. Look at the full lyrics. Why, he’s BUTTHURT, he is! He’s taking all the credit for plucking her out of the crowd and pulling a whole Pygmalion on her. He never explains HOW he rescued her. He doesn’t even say what his job was at the time. What if he was just an over-confident fry cook? And now he’s like, “Oh sure, you’re big shit NOW. But I made you, missy! I CAN PUT YOU BACK IN THE GUTTER IF YOU DON’T PUT OUT.” This is what it sounds like when Donald Trump is yelling at a woman. Look at how diplomatic she is with him:

The five years we have had have been such good times

I still love you

But now I think it’s time I live my life on my own

I guess it’s just what I must do

You’re right: She’s lying her face off. She doesn’t love him. She sounds like she just resigned from coaching the L.A. Clippers. She’s just trying to take the high road and make him feel better so he doesn’t come after her with a gun. She TOTALLY doesn’t want him. She wants a restraining order. I rule in favor of the woman. This is not true of other songs. Take Richard Marx’s “Should’ve Known Better.” That girl was a total bitch.



Suppose when Obama is out of office, he and the wife swing by the White House and just crash in one of the spare bedrooms? How long can they stay before somebody says something? You’re taking to somebody who is still referred to as Mr. President and has Secret Service protection. Does it matter which party is in power? Wouldn’t it be better if all former presidents and their spouses got to live at the White House for the rest of their lives? I bet there would be disagreements.


Former presidents aren’t just allowed to come and go from the White House as they please. Once you’re out of there, you’re out there. If the new president tells his staff, “Hey, let Barry crash any time he wants,” they can probably make that happen. But if the new president is like, “Man, fuck that Barry guy. If he shows up at the parking gate, piss on his windshield,” they’ll turn the old president away. That’s how it works. I bet Nixon spent the majority of his retirement begging to be let back in.

If I were president, I would adorn the grounds in black lights and pump out EDM from the speakers and have a bunch of surly bouncers standing right outside the gate, turning away all the ex-presidents and Eurotrash. Only weed dealers and sexy ladies would be allowed inside. AND YOU MUST WEAR WHITE TO THE WHITE HOUSE.



I don’t know how you feel about Kit Kats, but they are the best chocolate bar there is, and that’s the simple truth. But the other day I bit into a Kit Kat bar and found it had NO WAFERS (see attached photo). That’s like a Twix without the cookie, or an Almond Joy without the wallpaper paste. I told my co-workers, and they acted like this was no big deal. My spouse went so far as to say she liked it better without the wafer (divorce pending). I say this is a harbinger of the apocalypse and total bull. Am I over-reacting?

Illustration for article titled What Happens If Someone Dies During The Hot Dog Eating Contest?

No. I would sue if I bit into a Kit Kat and an assembly-line quirk had robbed me of my precious wafers. I need that textural element. I would sue Hershey’s for millions in punitive damages. A Kit Kat without wafers is not a Kit Kat. It’s just a chocolate finger. Imagine your disappointment. That would be like a Reese’s Cup with no peanut butter in it. I would die inside.



Would it be a good thing or the worst thing ever if being a fat guy meant your penis got fat too?


YOU MEAN IT DOESN’T?! [Throws away Kit Kat supply.] Anyway, I don’t think that would change much of anything. If you were REALLY poorly endowed, you might bulk up to help add girthiness. And fat guys would be far more over-confident, only to end up ultimately disappointed by how little action their fat penises got for them. Just a kiss on prom night for them.

The average guy isn’t gonna add 1oo pounds just so that he can have a cock the size of a toilet-paper roll. It’s not gonna help you in the long run. You’d have this fat penis, but you’d only last three thrusts before collapsing from the hypertension. There’s not a woman on Earth who’s like, “Oh yeah, gimme THAT.” They prize agility.



A Bud Light rep offered me a free trip to a music festival as part of their shitty “Up for Whatever” campaign. The catch is I wouldn’t know which festival or when (and the whole “Bud Light” part), and I turned it down. Did I make a smart choice in avoiding a shitty and boring corpo-weekend, or am I an idiot for refusing a free vacation?


Are you single? You may as well go. I can tell you from experience that Bud Light “events” aren’t all that. Like, even the shit they show on TV—Bucs party at Alex’s house! electric football with a contractually obligated Jimmy Johnson!—looks painful and awkward. You’ll probably be stuck in a tent listening to bad music with five million PR dipshits and another five million security guards looking at you like you walked into the joint with a suitcase full of Ebola.

HOWEVER, if they’re paying to put you on a plane and in a hotel, and you got nothing better to do, why not? Hell, you could just fly to wherever and then skip the festival. It’s not like Bud Light would care. “Where’s Kevin? Anyone seen Kevin? THIS PARTY CAN’T START WITHOUT KEVIN.” You could accept the invite, see if they send you to a cool town, and then either a) skip the plane ride if they’re sending you to Akron, or b) spend a free night in a cool city like Chicago. You have nothing to lose, especially if you have no kids. If I had no kids, you could send me to a gravel quarry for a day and I’d be all right with it. Look at all that gravel!



We know NFL players are Madden enthusiasts, as so many publicly agonize over their ratings each season, but do you think any head coaches, general managers, or even team owners play the game regularly? I’m not talking simply gameplay mode, either. Do you think heads of NFL franchises play the franchise mode? Does Shad Khan play as the owner of the Jaguars and move them to London every time? Did Chip Kelly get the idea to trade LeSean McCoy from actually doing it first in Madden?


NFL coaches don’t play Madden because they don’t have time. Or, at least, they would like to make it appear that they don’t have time because all they care about is WINNIN’ FOOTBAW GAMES. They can’t be seen dicking around on Xbox when Belichick is reporting for duty at 3 a.m. after banging your mom. I also think coaches are snobs who look down on childish video games and prefer to focus on real football, which is as important to them as curing brain cancer.

I think there might be a few young coaches (Mike Tomlin) or assistant coaches (any RB coach) who play Madden because they were former players themselves, and they still like to play and still like to connect with players in that way. But in general? Not a chance. These are VERY SERIOUS people who can’t be seen doing something so trivial.


Now, college coaches? Totally different thing. I bet Spurrier plays Madden DURING real football games.


If all three Manning Brothers were in Celebrity Jeopardy at the same time, who would win?


Peyton. Eli is dumb as a brick and would finish in the red. Peyton puts almost as much prep work into going on TV as he does into losing the AFC title game. He’d study for weeks on end. He’d do aggressive thumb drills to hone his buzzer mechanics. He’d destroy the other two.


Okay, so this is a little weird. but I’m one of those awful people that chews on toothpicks because I think it makes me look cool. I really have no other way to justify it. Anyways, lately, every time I do that, my brain decides to go rogue and simulate what it would feel like if said toothpick were jammed up my dickhole. It’s terrifying. Please tell me I’m not the only one.


Once in a blue moon, I read or hear something that reminds me of a story I read about Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s son. The story was that Uday liked torturing men by shoving a glass rod into their dicks and then smashing their dicks with a hammer. I am glad Uday Hussein is no longer alive. Think about that the next time you chew on a toothpick. That’ll break the habit.

Email of the week!


My father-in-law has a hunting cabin out in the woods. This cabin does not have plumbing; you use the woods. EXCEPT that he has a 2-year-old training potty that he keeps up in the loft area above for his wife and daughter to use when they are there, and he just dumps it and rinses it out at the end of the day. I took my buddies there for one of their bachelor parties for a day full of shooting and explicitly made it clear that that toilet is not for use. You’ve probably already figured out where this goes ... come about five weeks later when my wife receives a call from her father that he located a steamy turd in this toilet five weeks rank stinking up the cabin for weeks. I questioned each member of the party and no one admits guilt. This was three years ago; we still have our suspicions.


Drew Magary writes for Deadspin. He’s also a correspondent for GQ. Follow him on Twitter @drewmagary and email him at You can also order Drew’s book, Someone Could Get Hurt, through his homepage.


Image by Jim Cooke.

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