Michael A. Diebold earned his second consecutive Skins Hot Dogs Hot Dog Eating Contest championship Saturday at the S.C. Festival of Discovery.
Diebold, of Anderson, topped Greenwood’s own Jay Esposito by one hot dog to win the title, devouring 17 hot dogs in just 12 minutes. Bryan Crocker, another Greenwood native, finished in third place by slamming down 13 hot dogs. Diebold won last year’s competition by eating 22 hot dogs, just three shy of the S.C. Festival of Discovery record of 25.
All of the contestants got off to a fast start until about halfway through the contest. It appeared that Rodevious Rhodes of Greenwood was in the lead until there was about five minutes left in the competition. He began hanging his head and squeezing three buns in each hand. With about 30 seconds left, Rhodes vomited and was disqualified. Rhodes said it was his first hot dog eating contest.
Diebold maintained a steady pace throughout the contest, but seemed to be on the verge of vomiting as well in the final minute of competition. Diebold confirmed that he had some trouble after securing the title.
“It was the first time I ever felt like I was going to throw up in a competition,” Diebold said. “I did have a little come up, but I just ate it. I know it sounds disgusting, but there was $500 on the line.”
Diebold got the $500, which was the cash prize for first place. Esposito took home $200 for finishing second and Crocker received $50 for third place.
The contest was Esposito’s first and he said he had a simple strategy that earned him second place.
“I just tried not to puke, really,” Esposito said. “I guess it worked.”
Crocker, who had never finished worse than second in his five career competitions, had a different strategy.
“I usually just eat the hot dog and the bun together,” Crocker said. “This time I separated the buns and dunked them in water. I don’t think I will be doing that anymore.”