Arts in the Family: A Family of Artists Just Trying to Make a Living in the Wilds of Texas


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Circus Memories- Hotdog Eating Contest 1994

One of the most memorable times I've had in the circus was the hotdog eating contest that was held in July or August when the show played Houston, if I'm recalling correctly. The contest was open to all on the show and usually had at least a dozen or so contestants. The clowns always had one or more teams. Oh, yeah. I forgot to mention that the contestants consisted of the hotdog eater and his/her coach who did a variety of things as the hotdogs were consumed from adding the condiments of choice to urging the "eater" on when he started to look a little green around the gills.

I was either talked into it or decided for myself to be the eater and my best friend Chad Miller was my coach. I remember that Josh Schulman, another of the clowns, was also a contestant but I don't remember his coach. To make things more fun and because we're showfolk, all the contestants dressed up in costume for the competition. Chad and I were the "Mimes Gone Bad". We "smoked" stogies and were rude and very un-mime like. It was tons of fun.

The prize was a cool t-shirt with an anthropomorphic hotdog wearing crown. If there was another prize I can't remember but who cares because the top prize was that t-shirt. Oh, simpler days. I asked Pammy if she could remember any other details but all she could remember was me throwing up and then making some mint tea for me but I digress.

Chad and I had no expectations of winning because, really, in a hotdog eating contest there is no winner except perhaps Oscar Meyer. That being said we intended to go down swinging or in this case gorging. The honor of the Alley was at stake. Josh had no intention at all of even making it through the twenty minute time limit to eat all the hotdogs we could possibly devour. Just before heading out to the contest he took a spoonful of Ipecac, a vomit inducing medicine, and chased it with a tall glass of grape Kool-Aide. His was a colorful exeunt.

Chad Miller and I being introduced by the host of the evening's entertainment: Keith Alexander.

As the moment of truth approached the cooks uncovered the vat of over-cooked, colorless wieners floating in a steaming, murky pool of formerly fresh water. Each contestant was given a plate of a twenty or so "dogs" along with an equal number of hotdog buns, a glass of water (tap) plus a ketchup bottle and a jar of mustard. Keith Alexander, a fellow First of May and Alley moral booster, was the host dressed as a hotdog in boxer shorts. After introducing the contestants he gave the signal and the eating began.

Chad and I were a good team. He loaded up the wiener onto the bun, squeezed it as tight as possible to squeeze out the air as he later explained it to me then handed it over. I think he added some ketchup to add some taste to it. The first five or six went down o.k. but as I downed number seven, eight and nine things started to feel different. It's as if all my senses were suddenly heightened especially my sense of smell. It was a super power I didn't want. The vat of hotdogs was still there and steaming, spreading it's "hotdoggy" aroma far and wide. I think I could even hear that smell. Weird.

For some reason, maybe it was Chad's coaching or some primal instinct in me to conquer my cylindrical foe but it never crossed my mind to simply quit. There was also that t-shirt to consider. One by one the number of contestants dwindled but The Mimes Gone Bad kept going. The twenty minutes were almost up with only a handful of participants remaining. I was eating slower and slower but eat I did. When the time expired I had downed fifteen and a half hotdogs and to my surprise won the contest. I claimed my prize, walk over to a quiet spot and then... well, what followed wasn't dignified. The next year Chad and I defended our title and won again. Such is the pride of the circus clown.

November Sky #4

Friday, November 25, 2011

November Sky #3

Friday Roundup

I have to confess I didn't know there were such a variety of Thanksgiving songs. Since we here at Rancho Ramirez generally celebrate a holiday well past it's appointed date I'll be posting some Thanksgiving songs to continue the festivities through the remainder of the month. The first couple I spotted on the Mental Floss blog .

We haven't had our turkey dinner yet at Rancho Ramirez. The holiday was spent with my mother-in-law who is recuperating from hip surgery at a rehabilitation facility where they provided a fine turkey day lunch for all the patients and staff. But our turkey should be thawed and ready to pop into the oven early tomorrow morning. I'm counting the minutes.

Things are fairly quiet here at Rancho Ramirez. There's no work this week, at least not for me. Doc Ed is on vacation for a week, due to gastronomic excesses being experienced through out the land. And in San Antonio where the motto should be "What's the rush?", work comes to a halt a couple of days before the big day. No football here though. We tune in to NPR or the local radio station which plays holiday songs right up to Christmas Day.
Pammy is at work making goodies of all sorts for the patrons of the Grey Moss Inn to enjoy. During the holiday our kids will be in and out of the house playing with the neighborhood kids or sitting in front of the tube watching the toons on PBS kids. Lately they've been doing some reading in bed when they wake up in the morning. Pretty cool!

Life is good. We're grateful for all we have and never take anything for granted, especially the little things. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the movies enjoying the new Muppet movie (which was great!). We haven't been to a movie in about five or six months. Yesterday the kids put on a Thanksgiving play for us and tonight they'll be doing an encore performance with additional material, for us after dinner. I hope your Thanksgiving is a good one. Have a great weekend. Gobble, gobble!

Monday, November 21, 2011

November Sky

It's starting to look a lot like autumn! It's very cloudy today and we been getting a light rain on and off all day. I feel like sitting back in a comfy chair with a blanket on my lap reading "The Hobbit" and sipping a cup of tea. Hey. What a good idea!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...