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Halifax sizzles with excitement at first-ever hot dog eating contest


The aroma of sizzling hot dogs filled the air in downtown Halifax Sunday, as the owners of the Halifax Beer Garden hosted the first-ever hot dog eating contest in the city.

“Our executive chef actually brought the idea up that the beer garden would be a really great spot for us to do it and so we reached out to some of our partners and they were really up for the idea,” said John Whitton, co-owner of Legendary Hospitality.

Over 50 people were interested in signing up for the contest said Whitton, but only eight were able to compete.

The group of participants included a mix of seasoned eaters and competitive newcomers.

“I like eating a lot so I thought I would be good at something like this,” said Kevin Nguyen, one of the competitors who has never been a part of eating contests. “If there’s semi-pros here I don’t think I am ready for that.”

Riley Merry, known in the Halifax-area for the food challenges he does around the city, said he was unsure of what to expect but hopes to eat at least 10 hot dogs.

A man in a hot dog costume give competitors the rules. (CTV/Hafsa Arif)“I’m going to stuff myself with as many hotdogs as possible in 10 minutes,” said Merry. “I’ll definitely have a hot dog in each hand and take turns shoving it down.”

After a countdown, the contest began and participants dove in, each determined to claim the title.

The pace was fast and furious, with contestants given only 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs possible.

Crowds of people circled around the beer garden to get a view of the contest and root for participants.

Competitors begin the competition, getting as many hot dogs down as they can. (CTV/Hafsa Arif)In the end, Adam Drake emerged victorious, finishing with 14 and a half hot dogs.

“My eyes kind of rolled back in my head like a shark for a bit,” said Drake. “This is the first time I’ve tried eating a bunch of hot dogs in one sitting as a sport. Usually it’s more recreational. It helped (that) the guys cheering me on were telling me to keep going (and) saying I’m one ahead.”

Merry tied with Piere Umali for second place.

“I am very, very happy with my performance. I wanted to do 10 and I did. So I am happy to bring home the prize,” said Umali.

However, Merry was not able to keep the hot dogs down for too long.

“I kind of knew this was going to happen but I waited until after the 10 minute and I was that only one that did it too, so you can say I pushed myself,” he said.

People watch from the sidelines as competitors try to eat as many hot dogs as possible. (CTV/Hafsa Arif)Whitton said the plan is to make this an annual event.

“Ultimately the Haligonians love bragging rights and who the winner is so we expect the winner to come back and defend their crown and for other people to challenge them,” he said.

For those who did not take the win say they will be returning.

“I might be a regular at these types of events. I only got five-and-a-half this time, so it can only really go up from here,” said Connor Morrison, participant and pro-food challenger. “Anyone that says it is easy, myself included, it is not. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”

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