Competitive eater stuffs his face for disaster relief

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Wed., Nov. 21, 2012
Contestants attempt to out-eat world-ranked competitive eater Jamie 'The Bear' McDonald. Photos contributed by Laura Soll. - Contributed Photo

Competitive hot dog eating contests are usually reserved for the Fourth of July at the original Nathan’s Famous stand on the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, but residents of Windsor and the surrounding area recently had a chance to be spectators at, and even compete in, a hot dog eating contest of their own.

World-ranked competitive eater Jamie "The Bear" McDonald challenged the public to a 10-inch chili dog eating contest, on Nov. 17, at Bart’s Drive-In Restaurant, in order to raise funds for the American Red Cross’ hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts.

“We know a lot of people down in the New Jersey, Long Island, New York area, and we just know how bad it was affected down there, and we kind of skated by pretty easily up here in central Connecticut,” McDonald said. “We decided it would be a good way to get community involvement and hopefully raise some money for the relief efforts, and it worked out pretty well.”

During the competition, McDonald was challenged by teams of three "Joes" to see who could scarf down the most chili dogs in 20 minutes. McDonald’s goal for the contest was over 20 chili dogs and he felt that he could do about 25 in the allotted time. He beat his original goal and fell just short of where he thought he could max out, finishing 24 hot dogs. The contestants did not fare as well as "The Bear," with the closest group only finishing 15 chili dogs. McDonald said that he was particularly impressed with the younger contestants who kept up and even exceeded some of the adult’s totals.

The event was sponsored by Bart’s as well as Club Fitness of Bloomfield, Domino’s Pizza, Inspired Intuition Therapeutic Massage and Wellness in Windsor Locks, and Home Sweet Home Pet Care in Windsor. The event featured a raffle fundraiser with prizes from the sponsors and other local businesses. Bart’s also donated a percentage of food sales from the restaurant during the event to the cause. The total amount raised has not been finalized, but McDonald believes that they will be donating more than $2,000 to the Red Cross relief efforts.

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