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There’s a strategy to eating as many hot dogs you can and Eric ‘Badlands’ Booker has been working at it. He’s learned from his mistakes and he’s ready for a big showing in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest that will take place Saturday. Joey Chestnut, as always, enters as the favorite, but Badlands Booker is looking to make some noise.

Who is Eric ‘Badlands’ Booker?

Eric ‘Badlands’ Booker is a big boy. He comes into Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Saturday weighing in at better than 400 pounds. He also stands 6-foot-5 and is a physical presence. When it comes to eating hot dogs, however, looks are very deceiving as evidenced by Joey Chestnut’s current reign on the title.

That isn’t to say Badlands Booker can’t eat. According to Major League Eating, Badlands Booker enters Saturday’s contest ranked No. 21 and is one of the most popular eaters in America. He is the owner of seven eating records, including two pounds of chocolate candy bars in six minutes. He has also eaten 15 BurritoVille burritos in eight minutes.

Booker is also known for his music. He has put out several rap albums and has performed songs at recent events. Booker is 51 years old and lives with his wife and son in Long Island. He is a conductor for New York City’s 7 Subway Train.

Booker hoping to rebound from poor showing

Booker took part in Major League Eating’s Quarantine Challenge in April and didn’t live up to his expectations. Contestants were to eat two pounds of bologna during the Quarantine Challenge and Badlands struggled. He finished in eighth place with a time of 2:16. Winning the event was Gideon Oji, who finished in 52 seconds. Oji beat Joey Chestnut by three seconds to claim the victory.

Booker went into the event feeling very confident. “I like bologna,” Booker said, according to CBS Radio. “Everybody likes bologna. But that’s more of a kids’ thing. I haven’t had bologna in years, but I’m still confident that I could crush it, though. Bologna’s bologna. I’m just going to pick up the whole stack and try to eat it all and pace myself. Bologna is kids’ stuff. I think I got this.”

When it was over, however, Booker turned his attention to the Fourth of July contest. “I’m going to do much better than I did during the Quarantine Challenge,” Booker said in another CBS Radio article. “I’m definitely used to eating in that sort of sense now. There’s not going to be no bologna repeats. It’s going to be on on the Fourth. No worries.”

Booker will ‘bring the beast’ Saturday

According to CBS Radio, Eric ‘Badlands’ Booker has put aside the Quarantine Challenge and has been focusing on Saturday’s event.
“I’m just going to come there hungry and focused and just try to get my jaws open wider than usual and just get those dogs down,” Booker said. “I’m going to bring the beast. I’m going to bring my four tenets. I’m going to bring my stomach capacity, my strategy, my stamina, and focus. I’m going to be hungry and focused on the Fourth. No worries at all.”

Booker may improve, but don’t expect him to win. According to The Sporting News, Booker is an extreme longshot to win. His over/under total for hot dogs consumed is 22.5. Joey Chestnut had 71 last year and is the heavy favorite.

“Anything can happen,” Booker said. “Joey could have a bad day. In the Quarantine Challenge, he had a rough start but he prevailed at the end, so you never know. That’s the beauty of competitive eating. You never know what can go on at a given time. So yeah, feel free to place your bets. It’s all good.”


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