In what may have been humanity’s most humbling day since scientists taught a monkey to communicate by sign language, a trio of elephants from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus defeated three legendary human athletes in a hot dog bun-eating contest in Coney Island this afternoon.
The final tally was as humiliating as it was shocking:
Elephants: 505 hot dogs buns in six minutes.
After the spectacle was over and the buns were swept away, it fell to International Federation of Competitive Eating President George Shea to put the event in perspective.
“Am I embarrassed for my species?” Shea asked. “Of course I am. This is as dark a day for humanity as the evening of the Hindenberg crash. But this time, my heart is screaming, ‘Oh, the pachydermity! Oh, the pachydermity.’”
Yet it started out so well for the human trio, Eric “Badlands” Booker, Gravy Brown and Juliet Lee. While the humans hurriedly consumed buns, the elephants appeared to be eating at a much more relaxed pace.
“They are eating with leisurely elan!” Shea screamed at the three-minute mark. “Clearly, they do not have the competitive spirit of their human betters!”
But Shea’s hubris quickly crashed down when the buns were added up. Despite a slow, methodical pace, the elephant team of Bunny, 42, Susie, 46, and Minnie, 48, walloped the competition.
Yes, the loss was hard to take, but for Shea, it was a dream come true.
“As you know, I have had two dreams in life,” he said. “One is to see two competitive eaters enter a convenience store and eat it to the ground, with one starting in the chips aisle and the other starting at the Slushies.
“That dream remains unfulfilled.
“But my other dream was to have a sanctioned eating competition between man and another species — and today that dream became a reality,” he said.
The event was a precursor to the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, at noon on July 4, at the corner of Stillwell and Surf avenues in Coney Island. That event — which features only humans, though all eating inhuman quantities of meat, sodium and starch — will feature a rematch between world champion Joey Chestnut and favorite Takeru Kobayashi of Japan.