Photo: Michael Nagle / Getty Images
Nathan's annual hot dog eating contest is the undisputed brass ring for all competitive eaters, but recently, organizers of the event came under fire. Major League Eating, the arm behind the July 4 contest, decided to split the event into men's and women's brackets. However, the grand prize purse for the women's title was just one-fourth of what was offered to the men: $2,500 for the ladies, $10,000 for men.
After an uproar regarding the prize disparity arose, Nathan's changed their tune, and will now offer $10,000 to both the male and female winner of the contest, reports the New York Daily News.
Not everyone thought the solution was that simple. EatFeats, a competitive eating website, crunched some numbers and discussed the notion of women attempting to qualify for the men's event. Time magazine's NewsFeed blog suggested the prize money be proportional to how many hot dogs are consumed.
Everyone likes to get their fair share, of course, but the most well-known female competitive eater, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, had an interesting take on the bruhaha. She spoke with Eater National (before the prize money was adjusted) and said she understood why the purse was smaller for women, who are relatively new to the sport.
"Of course I would like to see a larger purse," she told Eater. But this is the first year of separating genders, and it would be wrong and greedy of me to expect the same payout for the ladies as the men." But, she continued,"Once we women rapidly build on our fan base, the purses should grow accordingly."
In the end, gender equality won out. Nathan's Famous president Wayne Norbitz told the New York Daily News, "We were contacted by numerous fans of Nathan's who pointed out that despite the prize disparity in men's and women's divisions of other professional sports, the Nathan's prizes should be the same. We listened to that input."
Looks like even competitive eating circles understand they'd better pay attention to a Black Widow.