According to Major League Eating - the sanctioning body for all professional eating competitions - the ESPN broadcast of the Nathan's Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has generated a higher rating than any major league baseball telecast in the U.S. on July 4th.
I'm not making this up.
In keeping with Independance Day tradition, thousands of people gathered in Coney Island, New York yesterday to watch six-time champion Joey Chestnut retain his title by cramming 68 dogs down his gullet in 10 minutes.
How's that for a celebration of the founding fathers' principles, resolve and sacrifice? Do you suppose Thomas Jefferson took a break from writing the Declaration of Independance so he could go over to George Washington's house and see which one of them could eat more of Martha's pies? What are the odds that Betsy Ross got apple sauce on the original star spangled banner because she sewed it together right after competing in a pork chop eating contest at Ye Olde Schweinhaus in Germantown, Pennsylvania?
While there's no direct reference to competitive eating in the US Constitution, the freedoms outlined in the document can be reasonably interpreted to include eating as many hot dogs as you want. Still, that's probably not what the Second Continental Congress had in mind when it approved the Declaration of Independance, although - ironically - John Hancock's signature is smudged with tartar sauce from the 13 Colonies Crab Cakes eating championship.
Okay, that part I made up.