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First Route 66 hotdog eating competition planned for 4th of July

hot dogs tee pee drive in sapulpa july 4
Posted at 4:53 AM, Jul 03, 2024

SAPULPA, Okla. — America’s 248th birthday is this week, and one staple of Independence Day celebrations is hot dog eating competitions

While Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest reigned supreme for a half-century nationally, there’s a new upstart one in Green Country.

For those who are hungry for some dogs and want to taste victory on July 4, the first-ever Route 66 Hot Dog Eating Competition is looking for the toughest athletes — and strongest stomachs.

The ground rules are “however many hot dogs you can eat in five minutes,” Chuck Foxen explained. “And you definitely need to eat the whole hot dog.”

Foxen is the manager and film programmer of the Tee Pee Drive-In, where the inaugural competition will happen.

Hot dogs are "kind of like a staple of what we do out here at Tee Pee — it's on our menu," he said. "We just thought it was gonna be a fun thing to do."

He told 2 News that competitors will wolf down grilled hot dogs in front of a special judge, Michael Lowman (a.k.a. “Indian Elvis”). The local filmmaker and Native American actor will also bring a bit of showmanship and humor to the whole event.
The winner will receive a t-shirt and a free overnight stay in the furnished, retro Spartan trailers at the Drive-In.

Take a look at the rental home here.

tee pee drive in sapulpa trailer
One of the Spartan trailers on the Tee Pee Drive-In's grounds.

As for what prompted them to start their very own competition, Foxen said: “You know — hot dogs, Americana, the Tee Pee Drive-in — it just all kind of fits together.”

“Joey Chestnut has been in the news with his cancellation, and then his new competition he’s doing on Netflix. So, it’s just kind of like a fun thing,” he continued. “Tee Pee Drive-in’s always more than a movie, so we wanna be a part of the cultural stuff that’s going on.”

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest goes 52 years strong this July 4.

While this new Route 66 Hot Dog Eating Competition is a small-fry operation by comparison, Foxen hopes to someday become top dog.

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut holds a plate of hotdogs.

Asked if he thinks Joey Chestnut might show up another year, should this competition become big enough, Foxen replied: "We would love to have some celebrities."

"This year, we're gonna kick it off and see what we do, get our wheels rolling with it, sell some hot dogs, and then ... we'll expand out from there," he also said. "Hopefully, it'll become a big Route 66 event every year."

It's $25 to compete in the contest and you can sign up here. The $25 also includes a ticket to see the movie of the night, Despicable Me 4.

The competition begins at 7 p.m., followed by a small fireworks display at 8:50 p.m.

At 9 p.m., the drive-in will start showing Despicable Me 4.

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