Grantham eats his way to Double Dog Dare win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Natchez &8212;Saturday&8217;s Double Dog Dare hot dog eating contest at the Mississippi River bluffs came down to a battle of wills, or rather appetites, as 15 year-old Alan Grantham of Crosby chomped his way past the competition by eating 10 hot dogs in five minutes.

&8220;It was hard, I thought I was going to lose it at the end,&8221; Grantham said. &8220;I don&8217;t think I&8217;ll eat another hot dog until next year.&8221;

Next year may not come soon enough for the high-school student who picked up a $100 gift certificate for the first place finish.

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Grantham was not sure what he would spend the money on, but it&8217;s doubtful any of the money will go toward a pack of franks.

Grantham enjoyed congratulatory pats on the back from family and friends as he paced back and forth atop the bluff after the contest.

&8220;It feels good to be the champ,&8221; Grantham said.

Tommy Wallace, 24, came in second after shoveling down nine hot dogs, but came up a little short as time elapsed.

&8220;My head was spinning,&8221; said Wallace. &8220;I was just trying to hold what I had ate down.&8221;

Holding it down was something that all competitors struggled with as the first competitor to drop out just over a minute into the contest.

Wallace later said it would be a minimum nine years before he felt like eating another hot dog.

National Guardsman Michael V. Brown was the odds-on favorite prior to the contest according to many revelers in attendance. Brown rode a bike to the competition and said that his pre-contest regimen included running five miles a day.

Brown maintained the look of a very focused man as he sat down at the table and mashed his line-up of hot dog buns, but his steely glare crumbled as his mandibles struggled to move during the waning minutes of the competition.

Brown finished third with eight and a half hot dogs eaten.

&8220;I knew it was close,&8221; Brown said. &8220;I kept looking at the guy next to me and I thought I was ahead. All I know is I&8217;m going to need a month to recover from this.&8221;