Hoffman's Houston
a lot to swallow

Ken Hoffman on hot dog eating contests and gambling in Texas

Ken Hoffman on hot dog eating contests and gambling in Texas

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest 2017 Joey Chestnut
Can you down dogs like Joey Chestnut? Head to Alamo City.  Photo by Ken Hoffman

With Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand gone from the Memorial City Mall food court, Houston will not hold a qualifying contest for Nathan’s July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island this year. The nearest qualifier will take place February 23 at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

Local qualifying contests play by the same rules as the main event on Independence Day. Contestants get 10 minutes to crush as many hot dogs and buns as possible. There will be one men’s winner and one women’s winner. Both winners get free trips (air and hotel) to New York City and entry into the big contest in Coney Island.

True story: a few years ago, I was judging the qualifying contest in Houston. About 10 men entered with the winner being veteran competitive eater Erik “The Red” Denmark. I think he ate 33 "hd&b (hot dogs and buns)." While that number pales next to Joey Chestnut’s world record of 74 set last July 4, it was enough to get Denmark on a plane to the Big Apple. That’s all that mattered to Denmark. You don’t leave your best effort on the practice field.

When the host called for women contestants, nobody answered the bell. I turned to a woman next to me and said, “Just raise your hand, go up there, and take one bite of a hot dog. Since you’re the only contestant, you’ll win a trip to New York City.” She declined. Wimp.

Eventually a couple of women climbed onstage and one of them downed a dainty five hot dogs to win. Miki Sudo won the July 4 by inhaling 38 hd&b that year.

A promising tail: gambling in Texas?
I know this is Texas, and we’re the best and greatest and we kick every other state’s butt, but I’m telling you, California and Hawaii are onto something.

California has a new law that says pet shops can only sell dogs and cats and rabbits from shelters or rescue groups. No more selling expensive pedigree dogs from breeders. This a 100-percent great law. Mutts are wonderful. Mutts are true Americans.

Now Hawaii is considering a bill that would ban the sale of cigarettes to anyone under than 100 years old. I have trouble believing that cigarettes are a legal product anywhere. Cigarettes are the only product, if used according to instructions, will kill you. Since we treat smokers like lepers now, make them go outside to smoke in certain areas, let’s just do away with smoking altogether.

The law I’d like to see in Texas: legalized sports gambling. But we’ll never get it with the current bunch of bozos in Austin. Our  governor and lieutenant governor are too busy with critical issues like who pees’n’poops in what public restroom to worry about something that citizens really want. I dare them to put sports gambling on the ballot.

Houston boy hits a home run
Lamar High School grad Andrew Waters has been named assistant baseball coach at his other alma mater, Trinity University in San Antonio. Waters was a slugging outfielder on the 2016 Trinity team that won the D3 College World Series — the first Texas school to take the title.

Let’s see how Waters did that season: .421 batting average, 8 homers and 47 RBI in in 45 games. How powerful was this Trinity lineup? Waters batted ninth.

No excuse for blackface
The Virginia governor’s excuse for wearing blackface as an adult is: He was a Michael Jackson fan, and he entered a dance contest dressed as him, so he darkened his face.

Seriously? The governor needs to go. There's no excuse for blackface. Even so, that excuse is the worst.  My hero growing up was Willie Mays. When I was a kid in Little League, I batted like Willie, I drew his No. 24 on the back of my baseball T-shirt, I even wore my hat loose so it’d fly off when I ran, like Willie’s did.

I had pictures of Willie on my bedroom wall, I still have a Willie Mays jersey and autographed photo. When I became a Little League dad and coach, I taught my players to lean back and rock in the batter’s box like Willie did. I loved everything about him.

Never once did I think of putting dark shoe polish on my face.

Governor, next time you enter a dance contest as Michael Jackson and pretty soon you’ll have lots of free time, just wear one sparkly glove. People will get the idea.

WWE predictions 
Here are my predictions for WWE’s worldwide “Elimination Chamber” event airing live Sunday, February 17 from Toyota Center. Sasha Banks and Bayley will become WWE's first women’s tag-team champions by outlasting Nia Jax and Tamina, the Riott Squad, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, the Iconics, and Naomi and Carmella.

The Miz and Shane-o-Mac will retain their Smackdown tag straps against the Jey and Jimmy Usos. Ronda Rousey will turn back the challenge of Ruby Riott and keep her WWE Raw Women’s title. Daniel Bryan will successfully defend his WWE championship against AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, Mustafa Ali, Randy Orton and Samoa Joe.  Note: Raheel Ramzanali and I are trying to get Mustafa Ali live, 10 am Thursday, February 14 on ESPN 97.5 FM.

The weight is over!
Last month I wrote about my buddies Third Degree Burns and Biddy Boehme shaking on a bet: who can lose the most weight in January. As they say on the Maury Povich Show, the results are in!

Biddy started January at 247 pounds and finished at 227.5 pounds for a net loss of 19.5 pounds — that's pretty astounding.  Third Degree started at 257.5 and ended at 252, for a loss of 5.5 pounds, not bad. 

Biddy is the winner. He has now won seven of the contests, including three in a row, while Third Degree is stuck on four wins.