The Libertine Bar might have been a massive arena yesterday. There were all the markings of a serious sports event. The Star Spangled Banner was sung, not so terribly, by a single performer and eventually half the bar. Hair follicles stood on end. A dizzying flurry of camera flashes marked the start of the game clock. But instead of a ball and a net, hundreds of deep fried corn dogs and the varying capacities of 20 bellies decided winners and oh so many losers that day.
The Fifth Annual Brass-Knuckle Corndog Beat Down was a lot like the previous year's events. Most entrants were drunk, or at least acted like they were. And most contestants didn't stand a chance as they stalled just a handful of corn dogs in. Those who took competitive eating seriously forged ahead. They ate like they'd spent the entire summer on hunger strike.
The bar room was packed, with women standing on the wood to catch a view of the carnage. The air was heavy with the smell of sweet corn batter and oil and whimpering sounds were drowned out by cheering amplified by a day's worth of drinking. And toward the end of the competition table, "Nasty" Nate Biller was absolutely crushing it.
The scene was disgusting. Bits of water-soaked corn dog batter covered the table in front of Biller as he forcibly stuffed the corn dogs into his mouth and down his throat. His brow was sweating and his shirt was damp. When the clock ran out there were 26 naked corn dog sticks piled in front of of the man. No other contestant made it out of the teens.
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A few more camera flashes and a trophy presentation later, the spectacle had ended. Some closed out their checks immediately, while others stood in the parking lot with one more beer. The Libertine was just a bar again. It was a holiday, and there were fireworks to be had.