Dozens of hot dogs disappear at district fair

With 128 hot dogs ready for consumption, there was plenty of food to go around during the hot dog eating contest Saturday at SEMO District Fair.

Participants, broken into senior and junior divisions, took to the challenge with varying degrees of zest. Most started quickly, taking drinks of water between swallows, but began to slow by the third hot dog. Five competitors took part in the senior division, while three were in the junior division.

Terry Boyd of Cape Girardeau had a strategy for winning the contest. "I've been training for six days," he said. Boyd said had been drinking lots of water, eating lettuce and going to buffets to eat as much as he could. His strategy included dunking the hot dog and bun in water to make swallowing easier. Boyd, who had competed in eating contests before, was confident he would win. If he didn't, he hoped his fiancee, Kennedy Thomas of Cape Girardeau, would.

Despite his training, Boyd did not win a prize, eating only three hot dogs; however, Thomas ate four hot dogs and won second place in the senior division, which came with a cash prize of $20. It was her first time in an eating competition, and although she was influenced by Boyd, she said, "I'm a big eater, too."

First prize, however, was taken by Amy Guignon of Cape Girardeau. Guignon, who runs cross country at Southeast Missouri State University and competes in triathlons, said she was out to win.

"I won a pickle eating contest once before. I like to eat, and $30 sounded good," she said.

Guignon ate eight hot dogs in five minutes, despite admitting she wasn't really hungry before the contest began. "I ate breakfast before I came."

Her strategy for winning included dunking the hot dog in water and standing up while eating. "Once I knew I had the lead I kind of paced myself and sat down," she said.

After winning, she was looking forward to her next snack and would surely eat dinner. She said the hardest thing about winning the contest was trying not to laugh.

In the junior division, Wade Ludolph, 15, of Cape Girardeau had two friends cheering him on while he scarfed down eight hot dogs. That performance brought him first place in the junior division and an extra $30 to spend at the fair. It was his first time competing.

Wade said he signed up because "I thought I could eat a lot. ... I love food."

He said he thought he would still be hungry later and planned to eat and go on rides after winning the contest.

Taking second place in the junior division, and $20, was Brandon Capps, 10, of Cape Girardeau. He ate four and a half hot dogs.

Selina Lett, 8, of Cape Girardeau won third place in the junior division by eating three hot dogs, giving her another $10 to spend at the fair. Selina said she entered "for free hot dogs and maybe a big trophy."

After eating three hot dogs, she said, "I wasn't that hungry today. My stomach hurts. I think I ate too much."

Her stepmother, by comparison, was still hungry after placing third in the senior division. After winning her $10, Christina Lett continued to eat hot dogs, this time without the buns. "I have an unfair advantage," she said. "I'm pregnant."

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