Western New York native Jim Reeves is no stranger to eating competitions.
He’s been shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best eaters in the world, like Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut, who won a record 10th Mustard Yellow Championship belt at the 101st edition of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Tuesday, downing 72 dogs in 10 minutes.
Reeves, who is a four-time qualifier for the finals, stuffed down 22.
“It’s kind of like eating Thanksgiving dinner except in 10 minutes and not an hour and a half,” he said.
The Army Veteran qualified for the finals two years ago, but didn’t make the trip to Coney Island. He was determined to return, and won the regional in Valdosta, Georgia, to earn his spot back on the corner of Surf and Stillwell.
When asked about a training regimen leading up to the 4th of July staple he said: “Certainly, not as much as the other guys, but that would explain why I’m 21 in the world and not Number 1,” he joked. “I’m older. I might do a few practice runs leading up to it but I don’t get real aggressive with my training.”
Even after downing nearly two dozen hot dogs and buns, the 48-year-old said afterward he could probably go for a few more.
“I could eat them tomorrow. I could eat them tonight for dinner,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter to me.”