On Thursday June 8, 2017 greatness was on display at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The feat did not take place on the field, but in the stands, in section 204, row R, seat 8. It was an unseasonably cool evening, with clear skies, and a light breeze. Under these most accommodating circumstances, a man pushed himself through physical pain, mental anguish, and against all odds turned back the clocks some fifteen years to compete with a record he set as a much younger man. This is the story of when Mike V. ate fifteen hot dogs on dollar dog night.
The hero we need.
For those unaware, Mike V. is the 2016 Biscuits, Whiskey, and Beer Triathlon-A-Thon bowling champ, but let’s rewind even further to the early 2000’s when the Philadelphia Phillies had a dollar dog promotional night. Young Mike V. proceeded to consume 17 hot dogs, and in turn create a milestone achievement. During the 2016 Bull’s season, we discussed the possibility of his attempting to beat this record, but alas did not find the time to make it happen. With Triathlon-A-Thon 2: The Fundraisening just announced, we thought what better time to reignite the flames of competition, and have Mike make a new record attempt. I would wear a hot dog suit to act as a mascot of sorts, cheering him on, livestreaming our antics, and generally talking to anyone that would listen about the Triathlon-A-Thon, while Mike would slam dog after dog and chasing down fortune and glory in the process.
Gearing up for excellence. Thumbsup nation.
I got to Mike’s house around 5:30pm where he informed me that he had just had a slice of pizza and a garlic knot, in an effort to “get a good base”. I didn’t quite understand, but I do love pizza, so I had no judgement and took note. Before we got on the road, his loving wife looked at him and gave strong sincere encouragement, it was like something straight out of an inspirational film, it was wonderful. On the ride to the stadium we established his self-imposed ground rules:
-No beer as it would be too filling
-Must consume a minimum of 12 to maintain any semblance of self-respect
-12-15 would be deemed “a solid effort”
-18 would be the gold medal goal
So we got to the park, I put on the suit, and Mike went to work. Before the first pitch was thrown he had eaten 6 dogs, and put down a Dr. Pepper. At this point, I’m amping up the hype telling people higher and higher numbers when they ask how many he’ll eat. I figured this was acceptable as we were forging a new baseball legend, like Wade Boggs beer count on the cross country flight. In the second inning Mike’s “feeling good” and in the top of the third he goes for six more and a soda water.
What time is it?
Time for more!
Me and Wool E. Bull giving Mike good vibes.
Getting to an even dozen takes a toll, and the champ is hurting. He’s shaking hands, smiling, and giving kids thumbs-ups all over the place. The legend is starting take shape, but there’s a sadness in the champ’s eyes, a sadness that comes from knowing that the pain is not set to end any time soon. I’m trying to be encouraging, and eat two veggie dogs out of solidarity (it would be cannibalism for the dog to eat a regular dog). The livestreams are getting really dumb/dull, the Instagram posts are offering diminishing returns, and the time from 6th to the top of the 8th is basically the dark night of the soul for this adventure. Things aren’t looking good on any front.
Things got a little dark.
Then that baseball magic happens, and our hero says “let’s go get three more, and see where that takes us.” We go, he inhales the first, starts in on the second and throws up in mouth. This is where the boys are separated from the men…Mike keeps it down, AND FINISHES THE DOG LIKE THE HERO WE NEED IN THIS MOMENT. He takes a drink, sets dog fifteen in the cup holder in front of him and says “I might be done.”
BUT HE WASN’T DONE! Despite sweating nitrates, feeling like total garbage, and almost losing dog 14, he ate number 15 on the way out of the stadium at the end of the game cold, and mushy. He didn’t have to, but he did it anyway because that’s what commitment looks like. For competing with a younger version of himself, throwing pizza and soda in the mix, I’m going to go ahead and say that Mike crushed it. Good job man.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a little about the Bull Durham Beer Co. at this point. As reviewed last season, I really like their Lollygagger Kolsch (which is now available in cans!), but during this adventure I was drinking their amber. It’s a reddish looking medium bodied ale, pleasantly bitter with 5.5% ABV, and I could drink them all day. Love those guys!
Delicious and refreshing, pairs well with a dozen hot dogs.
So here’s my proposition to you biscuiteers, who wants to come at the champ and try to beat his record?
I’ve got a sponsor lined up for donations to Triathlon-A-Thon 2: The Fundraisening that will make donations per dog consumed…it’s a real easy way to punch your ticket to a glorious place in history, come out and give it a shot! Drop me a line if your game!
Til next time biscuiteers,
Follow our reigning hot dog champ’s writings on Medium HERE or check out his podcast “The People on my Floor”
Drink beer from Bull Durham Beer Co.
Read more about Triathlon-A-Thon 2: The Fundraisening
Does anyone out there remember Hot Dog magazine from Scholastic? I seem to remember them being a part of the annual elementary school book fair or something. I had the Mario one, and it ruled.
I used to love these, and would try to trace the covers over and over.