Today, in our ongoing efforts to fill our Friends' bellies before Saturday's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest, Unfair Park brings you the competitive eater currently ranked No. 30 in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating. Originally from Wichita Falls, 26-year-old “Nasty” Nathan Biller is flying in from New York University, where he's getting his master's degree in sports business, to compete in Dallas’ first-ever qualifier for The Big Eat.
Meat him after the jump. You really don't want to miss his explanation of the phrase "reversal of fortune."
How long have you been a competitive eater?
Well, really, pretty much my whole life, because I’ve always been a competitive person, and I’ve always liked to eat a lot, and I’ve known that that’s a talent of mine forever. But I started professionally ... my first contest was in the fall of 2006, as far as the IFOCE goes.
How did you get introduced to the world of competitive eating?
Well, I had done a contest in Wichita Falls called a Beanie Burger Contest. It’s really a very nasty thing to eat. I entered it knowing that I could do pretty well, and I ended up slaughtering the rest of the field. So, at that point I thought, "Well, if I’m this good, man, I oughta test myself and see where else I can go with this.” So I signed up for a contest in a nearby town, Lewisville, and placed fifth there. From then on, I talked to people who told me I should pursue it, and I started going to more contests. I’ve been doing it ever since.
What’s a Beanie Burger?
Well, I’m still a record-holder in that. It was a six-minute contest to see how many you could eat, and they are a half-pound burger with beans, nacho cheese, chili, jalapeños, corn chips and onions. It’s really disgusting. They’re about a pound a piece, and my record is six in six minutes. I don’t think that’ll be beaten any time soon.
How do you train before a competition?
Pretty much all the meals I eat have always been the same way I eat now when I’m training. I would eat before I started it professionally; I eat as much as I can in a 10- to 15-minute period each day. One giant meal a day. I’d been doing that forever, but I found out that that’s the way a lot of people train. Some people use cabbage or lettuce or something that’s not fatty or caloric, but I don’t really care. I just eat whatever I want. Yesterday, I had a couple foot-longs; the day before, I had several hot dogs. So far, I’m not overweight by too much, but one day maybe it’ll catch up with me.
What’s your strategy during a competition?
I dunk half a dog, take a bite, dunk the other half and keep going.
How well do think you’ll do this Saturday?
Last weekend, I was in Shea Stadium, and I ate 19 and a half dogs in 10 minutes. So, I’m going for 20 to 22. Just as long as I don’t have a reversal, I’ll be all right.
A reversal of fortune. That’s what we call it on the competitive eating circuit when someone has urges contrary to swallowing. Then you’re disqualified. You don’t wanna be close when that happens.
What’s your personal record? That 19 and a half last weekend.
How many hot dogs do you normally eat in one sitting?
I normally eat eight for a regular meal, but if I was training, I may eat double that. Like I said, I eat big all the time, so eight hot dogs is what I’d eat to get full or to get satisfied for one meal.
Do you have a role model?
Most competitive eaters have a nic name. Do you have one, and what’s your nickname’s significance?
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They call me “Nasty” Nathan. I’ve had that nickname for a while, even before I was a competitive eater. For reasons I’d rather not go into. When I eat, I’m really messy. There’s a lot of debris on my shirt
And lastly, we have to ask, how many wieners can you fit in your mouth at once?
Probably four, you know, depending on how excited I get. --Daniel Rodrigue
Coming tomorrow: A vet from Addison. And he needs a nickname.