Lions Club celebrates centennial with hot dog eating contest

There are many ways to celebrate a birthday, and the local Lions Club decided to have fun with its centennial anniversary during the fair next week.

“The Lions this year is celebrating 100 years, so our club decided that it would be fun just to celebrate 100 years by having a hot dog eating contest. Just make it a fun day,” said James Reeve, Lions Club member and owner of Reeve Insurance Group.

The first 10 men and first 10 women to register by the noon July 15 deadline will participate. The contest starts at 1 p.m. in the event center behind the permanent food stands at the fairgrounds. First place in each division wins $100, with second place earning $50 and third place receiving a package of hot dogs.

Registration and waiver forms must be turned in to the fair office or Reeve Insurance Group, 1135 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw, by the noon deadline. The forms are available at the fair office or from Reeve.

Reeve Insurance is providing the prize money.

Contestants must be at least 16 years old. Participants will have five minutes to eat as many hot dogs and buns as they can, and may use the two cups of water provided to each person. Everything past the contestants’ lips counts at the end of the five minutes, and contestants will be given 30 seconds to finish what’s in their mouths.

Reeve said, “We start with everybody geting 10 dogs, 10 buns. If they eat all of those, we’ll give them more. They’ve got to eat the bun and the dog.”

Any contestant who throws up is eliminated.

“Everybody gets their own bucket. The ladies get pink buckets, the guys get red buckets. Big R is sponsoring the buckets,” Reeve said.

Each contestant will have a judge in front of them. The judge sits in a chair on the stage across from a contestant and counts how many hot dogs that contestant eats.

“If they decide to hide the dog, or throw it under the table, their chair or wherever, then they’re disqualified,” Reeve explained.

This is not the first year there’s been a hot dog eating contest during the fair.

Reeve said, “They’ve actually had it when I was on the (fair) board for five years. I did it for five years in a row. They’ve done it every year since then. And this year, I asked if the Lions Club could host it and put it on.”

Spectators are always welcome, he said.