Stuffing one’s face with food on a hot afternoon in downtown Mount Airy would not make most people’s top-10 list, but a few brave souls did just that Saturday.
It was all part of a hot dog eating contest being held for the first time, sponsored by Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies. As its name suggest that local business normally is focused on pies, but launched Saturday’s event to raise funds for the Downtown Business Association.
The contest featured both adult and youth competitions, with nine contestants putting their food-consumption skills on display altogether at Carlos Jones Blue Ridge Park at the corner of North Main and West Oak streets.
They sat at tables underneath a tent and endeavored to devour the most hot dogs within a specified time frame, 4 minutes for adults and 2.5 minutes for the kids.
Supporters and curious spectators encircled the dining area to witness the event, and enjoy music provided for the gathering by a DJ.
Chris Henson of Mount Airy out-ate three other culinary foes to capture the adult competition, while Jacob Maines, an 11-year-old from Dobson, was the youth winner. Henson totaled four hot dogs and the youth champion ate two.
In both events, everyone seemed to consume the hot dogs in a deliberate manner, unlike the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest held every July 4 on Coney Island where contestants gobble them down in rapid-fire succession.
The hot dogs served Saturday appeared to be larger than the usual variety, however, accompanied by a practice common at such events: drinking water constantly to help them go down.
Rather than remain seated at the table, Henson, the adult winner, stood up while eating. He also consumed the wienies first and later the buns — therefore adhering to contest rules requiring the entire hot dog to be eaten.
He also had some special preparation leading up to the event. “I ate a lot,” Henson said.
For his victory, he earned a custom-made hot dog trophy and a cash prize of $50.
Another winner from Saturday’s competition was the Downtown Business Association.
Contest organizer Angela Shur, aka Miss Angel, said proceeds of about $1,000 were generated for the group. That included entry fees and donations from persons opting not to participate in the event but still wanting to support the cause.
Shur had said when announcing the contest that she wanted to give something back to the downtown group that spearheads holiday parades, car shows and other activities in the central business district.
The Miss Angel’s owner says the hot dog contest will be held again, during the next Mayberry Farm Fest event.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.