You're a Wiener, Day Four! Meat "The InTimmidator" and The Rookie Vet

Before The Big Eat tomorrow in Plano, from which we'll bring you video and a slide show on Sunday, Unfair Park serves up today a double helping of possible wieners. And the second one needs a little help choosing his nickname before the buzzer sounds at -- when else? -- high noon tomorrow.

We begin, though, with Timm "The InTimmidator" Dilling, who's quite the up-and-comer in the world of competitive eating. The 24-year-old from Garland, whose video you see above, scarfed down 24 tamales in 12 minutes during his first competition. Still in his rookie year, Dilling has already munched his way to the 46th position in the international Federation of Competitive Eating rankings. And yes, he’s married, and his wife is usually in the splash zone cheering him on.


So, how long have you been eating competitively?

Technically, this is still my rookie year. So I’m looking to pull out some big numbers and move up in the ranks.

How many contests have you already been in?

Six or seven. So far I’ve eaten tamales, waffles and grits. I’ve been in the Krystal burger’s qualifier.

How did you get started in competitive eating?

Actually, there’s this burger joint right down the street from where I used to work. And they had a four-pound burger, and my buddy challenged me to eat it one day, and I ate it in a little under three minutes. The first time I ate that burger, my friend thought it was a fluke. So, I had to eat it like three or four more times. And then, my friends were like, “That’s gotta be some kind of record.” So, we looked up the International Federation of Competitive Eating. I said, “I’ll try anything once.” And that tamale eating contest was close. So, I jumped on board, and ran with it.

Have you won any of the competitions yet?

I haven’t won, but I’ve placed in the money several times. The best I’ve gotten is fourth place.

What kind of money are we talking?

It just depends. First place can get maybe $4,000 to $10,000.

How are you training for this competition?

Oh, man, it’s a natural capacity. I just make sure that, well, I do a speed trial, two minutes, with any competitive food that I’m gonna eat to get an idea of the pace that I have.

What, no cabbage or Skittles?

No, I chew gum a lot. So that helps build jaw strength.

What’s your strategy during a competition? Are you into squeezing or dunking your buns?

Um, to tell you the truth, I’ve done a lot of research on what the best method is. First, I’ll eat a whole dog, and then jump into the “Solomon Method.” You separate the bun from the dog, break the dog in two and get it down as fast as you can while you’re soakin’ the bun. You basically have one hand moving all the time, and you’re always swallowing something.

How well do you think you’ll do this Saturday?

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be holding that trophy over my head.

Most competitive eaters have a nickname. Do you have one, and what’s your nickname’s significance?

I’m the "The InTimmidator", and I was just kinda dubbed that. I’m 6-foot-4, 250 pounds. I used to play football. I showed up wearing sunglasses to my first contest, and, actually, a radio station called me that first.

And lastly, we have to ask, how many wieners can you fit in your mouth at once?

I don’t like to see it as how many can I fit in my mouth, but how many I can swallow.

And, Lastly, "The Vet". Or "The Claw"? Maybe

Jim Clawson. Help a brother out.

Veterinarian Jim Clawson of Addison isn’t exactly a rookie; he’s eaten competitively before. But this is his first official IFOCE competition. Now that he’s in the big leagues, he needs a nickname, and he’s asked Unfair Park’s readers to offer up their suggestions.

How did you get interested in competitive eating?

I got interested in it from watching it on TV. I was enthralled, just fascinated by the whole aspect of how people could eat like that. I started following it, and I got more and more interested.

So, how long have you been eating competitively?

I competed last year at the State Fair [of Texas] in the Corny Dog Eating Competition. That was my first contest, and I did OK. I ate six corny dogs. This will be my first IFOCE event.

How are you training for this competition?

Well, there’s really two aspects to competitive eating. You’ve got the speed aspect; you‘ve got to be able to eat quickly, to get the food from the plate to your stomach. But there’s also the actual capacity of your stomach part. So you have to work on both aspects.

So how are you training?

It’s a secret. No, really I’m just trying to focus on increasing my speed and my technique for eating the hot dogs. My plan is to eat the hot dog and then dunk the bun and then eat the bun, so I’ll eat them separately.

How well do you think you’ll do this Saturday?

I have no idea how I’m gonna do. This is my first IFOCE event, and I’m pretty excited about it, but I’ve never tried to see how many hot dogs I can eat.

How many do you eat in a normal situation?

The funny thing is, before I entered this contest I hadn’t eaten a hot dog for seven or eight years. I just don’t eat them very much. So I went by the store and picked up a pack of hot dogs, and I’ve been practicing with them to see what the fastest way I can get it down is.

Most competitive eaters have a nickname. Do you have one, and what’s your nickname’s significance?

I don’t yet, but I’m open to suggestions.

And lastly, we have to ask, how many wieners can you fit in your mouth at once?

Well…[Laughing] I don’t know. --Daniel Rodrigue

Coming Sunday: Inside the Splash Zone!