Detroit Fire top dogs in coney eating contest
Detroit fire fighters, Detroit police officers, student police officers and Windsor fire fighters participate in the 7th Annual American Coney Dog Eating Challenge in Detroit. Todd McInturf
Detroit — Two new top dogs were anointed Thursday in the seventh coney dog-eating challenge in Detroit.
New champs — the Detroit Fire Department — claimed the coney trophy from Detroit Police at American Coney Island before a crowd cheering on the contestants devouring dogs with all the fixings.
A “civilian” challenge followed with 12 contestants. Chris Dasbach of Troy ate 11 full coneys plus 1/8 of another in 10 minutes to emerge a full but pleased winner.
“I didn’t even know I was going to be participating until this morning,” said Dasbach, 29. “I skipped lunch and now I feel really gross. I just kept chewing and didn’t think about it.”
Contestants had to eat hot dogs with chili, mustard and onions. Any bits of hot dog left on the serving trays meant lost points on the road to winning bragging rights.
Throwing up also set the contestants back — it was five points off. Fortunately, no one had to witness that.
A percentage of American Coney Island’s sales Thursday as well as donations and contest registration fees, went to the public safety department of the team that won.
Firefighters Alex Knell and Patrick Mcgucki gobbled the most on their team: they tied at nine each.
Mcgucki’s strategy was to breathe only through his nose and focus on chewing while sipping water in between scarfing down dogs.
“I feel good, surprisingly,” he said. “Full, kinda gross, but good.”
Knell said the Fire Department did not practice for the event. They just winged it.
“Both of us had a light lunch, just water and salad, but now we are going to go out and celebrate,” Knell said.
The Detroit police team won last year’s challenge and after losing this year, Detroit police Chief James Craig told his recruits to drop and do 10 pushups. Not to be outdone where coneys weren’t involved, the Detroit fire team responded with 25 pushups, which led to a seemingly impromptu pushup challenge between Craig and Fire Capt. Arn Nowicki.
Craig won after doing 26.
Judges included last year’s champion DeSean “Whipdog” Whipple, writer Charlie LeDuff and Les Gold and Seth Gold, stars of “Hardcore Pawn.”
Plymouth’s Matt Holowicki, three-time hot dog-eating champ who retired last year, still holds the record with 20 full coneys.