Competitive eating comes to Africa
My name is Dirk Gintly and I am the Vice President of Communication for the World Competitive Eating Association. I am taking time out of my busy day to respond to some negative feedback our latest event is generating. While I understand some of the concerns raised by our having an event in Ethiopia I must also say that I think it is unfair to label it ‘cruel’ or ‘callous’. In fact, one could make the argument that our bringing such a high-profile happening to an impoverished country is exactly what the doctor ordered. Think of the revenue and publicity we’ll generate and I’m sure you’ll agree that even Bono and his other do-go buddies would give their thumbs up… if, of course, they weren’t such outspoken critics.
I think it disingenuous of these bleeding hearts to want to affect change and then fight attempts at progress.
I will be the first to admit that we got off to a rocky start but I’m not sure Monday-morning quarterbacking is going to help. Clearly we didn’t have enough security when the first shipping container full of hot dogs arrived but who could have foreseen 10,000 hungry people breaking through the barriers and not only eating the hot dogs but our guards as well. Believe me when I say the families of those involved have been compensated. Once we moved to razor wire and live ammunition the delivery of the second container went without a hiccup.
Here is the thing. I wish Bono and his gang would get on board and see what we’re trying to do here. The fact is that the starvation makes a poignant backdrop to 15 of the world’s greatest eaters trying to cram down as many hot dogs in 3 minutes as they can. The starvation isn’t going anywhere Bono, it will still be there when you want to promote your new album with a ‘free’ fundraising concert. Honestly I think he could help a lot more by supporting our event… and l can’t be the only one who’s curious about how many chicken wings he and the boys from U2 can throw down.
This Saturday Ethiopia will see the likes of Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi demonstrating the beauty and passion of competitive eating in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eat Hot Dog Chowdown. I have no doubt the crowds will enjoy watching so much food being consumed in such a short time by so few people. Truly it will be an inspiring afternoon. After that we move to Zimbabwe in March for the Corned Beef Sandwich Showdown followed by, and tell me that you’re not dying for this one, the lovely Democratic Republic of Congo hosting the King Cake Eating Championship!
In conclusion, I hate to see a few narrow-minded people ruin things for everyone. Competitive eating is a growing sport and if the ruckus at the docks was any indication there is plenty of up-and-comers in Ethiopia to keep our eyes out for.
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