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Oct 27, 2009 4:06 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Contractor scarfs down 13 wieners to win hot dog eating contest

Oct 27, 2009 4:06 PM

The magic number for Moriches resident Ron Bascope was 13 on Thursday, October 15—that was how many hot dogs it took him to win a hot dog eating contest hosted by the Speonk Lumber Corporation.

Mr. Bascope, who is a self-employed contractor, took home the grand prize—an electric table saw valued at more than $600—moments after he spit out hot dog No. 14 when he was announced as the contest winner.

“I am shaky,” said Mr. Bascope, who will surely taste hot dogs for days, in the moments after winning the eating competition. “And I just don’t feel good.”

His secret for success? Four days of eating everything in sight, especially burgers. His efforts paid off, as the second-place contestant was able to scarf down only 11 dogs. The runner-up took home a $50 Visa gift card, while the third-place winner, who ate nine hot dogs, took home a Tyvek fleece.

In spite of a cold and steady rain, nine contestants lined up inside a large shed on the Speonk Lumber property on Montauk Highway in Speonk and prepared to eat as many dogs as they could in 10 minutes. Each hot dog was served plain, and the contestants, who were all men, had to eat both dog and bun.

As the men begin stuffing their faces, someone standing in the audience yelled out, “Don’t puke!”

Grant Werner, the marketing director for Speonk Lumber, said the company held the contest as a way to both drum up publicity and to say thank you to its customers, many of whom are local contractors.

Mr. Werner noted that in tough economic times, those working in the construction industry could certainly use a break—a lunch break, that is.

He explained that one Thursday every month for the past year Speonk Lumber, which is a full-service lumber yard and building material supplier, opens its doors to its customers and offers a free hot dog and soda lunch. The family owned business has been serving Long Island since 1946 and has a second location on Mastic Beach Road in Mastic Beach. He said the company also brings in representatives from different manufacturers to talk to customers and educate them about their products.

“We see the same faces month after month,” Mr. Werner said. “Even the UPS guy gets a hot dog.”

He noted that the lunches have been so popular that some of the regulars have been given lunch club loyalty cards and will have their names entered in a raffle to win a free night at the Montauk Manor Resort Hotel. The drawing will be held in December.

Last Thursday, anyone who showed up at the Speonk yard was given complimentary hot dogs and soda, even if they did not sign up for the eating contest.

“I think we had a nice turnout,” Mr. Werner said. “We generally get good turnouts for our monthly lunches.”

He said that, on a regular day, Speonk Lumber usually gives away about 200 hot dogs over 90 minutes.

Richie Sviridoff of Center Moriches said he was participating in the contest despite his doctor’s orders to watch what he eats. He said just before the contest started that he did not think he was going to win.

“I’m not really that hungry, and my teeth hurt,” said Mr. Sviridoff who ate six hot dogs. “But I want to see who does [win].”

Another contestant, Conor Rodgers of Center Moriches, estimated that he could eat about 12 dogs just before the start of the competition, even though he had done nothing to prepare for it. “I eat a lot of food on a regular basis,” he said. “That’s about it.” But when push came to shove, Mr. Rodgers had trouble scarfing down seven hot dogs.

When the final tallies came in, Mr. Bascope had consumed 13 hot dogs, even though he had already began chomping on No. 14. He spit that dog into a Styrofoam tray after being announced as the contest winner.

Although he had never eaten so many hot dogs at one time before, Mr. Bascope said he had a sneaking suspicion that he was going to win that afternoon.

“I came in pretty confident,” he said.

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