Author Interviews

A Full Helping of Competitive Eating in 'Esophagus'

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Competitive eater Cookie Jarvis eats a cannoli.

Cookie Jarvis holds more competitive eating titles than anyone in the world. He can eat 21 cannoli in just 6 minutes. International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc. hide caption

toggle caption International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc.

Ever thought you'd broken a world record for eating cheesecake? How about pork ribs, baked beans or pizza? Well, get in line. There is a whole slew of competitive eaters who train and even make a living on the resilience of their stomachs.

In a new book, Horsemen of the Esophagus, Jason Fagone takes a funny-yet-frightening look at some of the world's most accomplished eaters.

The Philadelphia native explored the phenomenon in Japan and across the U.S. — from the World Grilled Cheese Eating Championship in Venice Beach, Calif., to Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, N.Y.

Fagone tells Linda Wertheimer about the history of eating contests, tricks of the trade and a few of the most spirited eaters.

All photos courtesy of International Federation of Competitive Eating, Inc.

Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Age: 37

Weight: 105 pounds

Career Highlights:

Baked beans: 8.4 pounds in 2 minutes, 47 seconds

Cheesecake: 11 pounds in 9 minutes

Hard boiled eggs: 65 in 6 minutes, 40 seconds

Meatballs: 10 pounds, 3 ounces in 12 minutes

Takeru 'The Tsunami' Kobayashi

Hometown: Nagano, Japan

Age: 27

Weight: 132 pounds

Career Highlights:

Cow Brains: 17.7 pounds in 15 minutes

Hamburgers: 69 burgers in 8 minutes

Hot Dogs: 53.5 hot Dogs (with buns) in 12 minutes (2004)

Rice Balls: 20 pounds rice balls in 30 minutes

Eric 'Badlands' Booker

Hometown: Copaigue, NY

Age: 36

Weight: 420 pounds

Career Highlights:

Candy bars: two pounds of chocolate candy bars in 6 minutes

Corned Beef Hash: 4 pounds of hash in 1 minute, 58 seconds

Doughnuts: 49 glazed donuts in 8 minutes

Crazy Legs Conti

Hometown: New York, NY

Age: 33; Weight: 202 pounds

Career Highlights:

Buffet: 5.5 pounds of buffet food in 12 minutes

Green Beans: 2.71 pounds of green beans in 6 minutes

Pancakes: 3 1/2 pounds of pancakes and bacon in 12 minutes

Dale Boone

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Age: 38

Weight: 303 pounds

Career Highlights:

Pelemeni: 274 Russian dumplings in 6 minutes

Pork and Beans: 84 ounces of baked beans in 1 minute, 52 seconds

Reindeer Sausage: 28 reindeer sausage in 10 minutes

Books Featured In This Story

Horsemen of the Esophagus

Competitive Eating And the Big Fat American

by Jason Fagone

Hardcover, 303 pages |


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Horsemen of the Esophagus
Competitive Eating And the Big Fat American
Jason Fagone

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