Chow Down For Charity

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With summer comes grilling and overeating, usually one as a result of the other. But some people like a little competitive juice with their meal, and they take this idea to the next level. Welcome to the ongoing Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs hot dog eating contest – created to raise money for the Colorado AIDS Walk and Project Angel Heart, which delivers meals to sufferers of HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses.

The rules are simple: shove as many hot dogs down the hatch as possible in three minutes. Dogs must go down “dry” (which means they have to eat the buns as well, and they can’t dunk them in water) and no fair swallowing without chewing, either.

According to Steve’s owner Steve Ballas, the competitors are mostly amateurs because the pros -- yes, there are people who do this for a living -- are contracted by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. They are also giving back to the community, he adds, since part of the $25 entrance fee goes to charity.

Either that, or they just really like eating hot dogs.

The most recent qualifier took place June 1, when contestant San Wong, managed four hot dogs in the time allowed to claim victory. Second place went to the fast choppers and steel stomach of Ron Bolseth, who ate three and a quarter dogs. Bolseth and Wong will compete at the finals with the top two placers from every other qualifier. And while these eaters may be taking years off their lives for sport, there are prizes attached! The second and third place eaters receive gift cards to local restaurants and a t-shirt. The champ wins a $300 gift card, a trophy, media attention, and the grand title of “The Big Weiner.”

In addition to the main event, attendees can busy themselves with kids’ activities and a silent auction. The next qualifiers takes place Sunday, June 15, at 2:30 p.m.

Further qualifiers are on June 29 and July 13. The final round goes down at 1 p.m. on July 27. All events take place at Steve’s Snappin’ Dogs, 3525 E. Colfax Ave., and are free and open to the public. For more information, call 303-333-7627 or log onto stevessnappindogs.com. -- Maddie Wolberg

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