Jim "Buffalo" Reeves
But it is not about family when Jim steps up to the table, nor is it about regional or national pride. It is about competition pure and simple. Jim loves the camaraderie with the other eaters, but he lives for competition, and this is what has driven him to success during the 2004 season.
Jim started as a chicken wing specialist, competing at the National Buffalo Wing Festival in Buffalo. But in recent months he has seen significant improvement in the meat and bun category, qualifying for both the Nathanís Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Krystal Square-Off, the world hamburger eating championship.
This has been a successful road year for Reeves, who has traveled to events in hot dogs, hamburgers, wings, fruitcake, apple dumplings and noodles. He has also eaten jalapenos in competition and seeks to further broaden his skill-set to include bitter vegetables.
Jim attributes some of his recent success to the South Beach Diet, which helped him lose 50 pounds in the past year. But he has also trained non-stop, drinking a gallon and a half of water at dinner each night and eating eat raw cabbage in the month before a contest to help ready his stomach. In the two weeks before an event, Jim begins eating the actual competition food to acclimate himself to its nuances.
A former Army officer who played baseball, football and hockey, Reeves hopes to rank within the top five in the world in the next 18 months. As a relative newcomer who consumed 21 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in Coney Island this past summer, Reeves clearly has a shot at his dream.
Through consistent training Reeves has solved the capacity issues that dogged him in 2003. Now he will focus on swallowing, an issue which caused him to place mid-field at the Krystal Square-Off. When he nails his swallowing, the skies will open up for this promising rookie.