Charity vs. rugby team in eating contest. Who ya got?

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Who do you think can eat more hot dogs in a short period of time: the chefs and volunteers from Project Angel Heart, which feeds over 800 meals to sick and housebound patients every day, or the Glendale Raptors rugby team?

Project Angel Heart Executive Chef Jon Emanuel wasn't too optimistic about his side's chances. When Lakeasha Jones, the group's community relations coordinator told him they'd be eating against the Raptors, his immediate thought was, "We're going to get killed."

Jones isn't so sure. "I don't think size really matters in an eating competition," she says.

You can find out for yourself tomorrow at noon tomorrow, July 3, in the Project Angel Heart kitchen at 4190 Garfield Street.

The event is a preview of this month's Chow Down for Charity contest at Steve's Snappin' Dogs. For $30 -- $25 of which goes to Project Angel Heart -- you can compete in the qualifier on July 11. If you pound enough dogs in the allotted eight minutes, you move on to the finals on July 26. Last year's winner ate 13, which seems paltry compared with the numbers coming out of Coney Island's famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, where the 2008 victor put down 59 hot dogs in 10 minutes. But Denver's contest requires contestants to eat picnic style, with buns intact and without dipping the dogs in water. So it should be less dramatic and considerably less disgusting.

Tomorrow's friendly eat-off was originally just a media photo shoot, but Steve's Snappin' Dogs owner Steve Ballas was quick to extend the invitation to the public when Westword asked about the event. Project Angel Heart, for its part, was more than happy to accommodate all comers.

"It's because of community partners like Steve that we're able to do what we do," Jones says.

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