An Open Letter from Hungry Charles

Wow, 2005 went out with a bang and 2006 came in big. It was great seeing how many IFOCE members and fans went to Philly to support Joey Chestnut and Rich LeFevre. I hope we will all continue to support one another in events -- it shows the strength and friendship we have and why the IFOCE is one the greatest sports organizations in the world.

As the Nathanís circuit begins, it is important for me, as Commissioner, to address some issues that have been raised by eaters and IFOCE staff. With so much riding on the outcome of IFOCE events, itís necessary that strict rules and procedures are followed.

While traditional rules continue to apply, I want to share the following guidelines with everyone. It is my hope that we can prevent future controversy.

1. The only cups allowed at IFOCE events are those supplied by the sponsor. No buckets, dishes or alternative cups are allowed.

2. We will continue to enforce the recently implemented five-second dunking rule. Whatís more, if a judge looks into cup during or following a contest and finds debris, a deduction will be made. In the case of Nathanís, this could mean as much as a half a hot dog or more. If a judge deems that hot dogs or buns were placed in a cup in a reckless attempt to increase numbers, that eater will be disqualified.

3. If a contestant is seen placing food in front of another eater, or away from his or her plate, that eater will be disqualified.

4. It is exceedingly rare in IFOCE events, which feature true professional eaters, to see a reversal of fortune. When this does occur the eater is to be disqualified. If food is propelled from the mouth, as the result of a burp or hiccup, and lands on the table it will be considered a reversal and a disqualification will ensue.

5. No foods, including hot dogs, can be handled or dressed by a contestant before a contest or during the countdown. No addressing the food until the start of eating.

6. No eater is to begin eating before the clock. This is known as ďjumping the bunĒ or eating prior to countdown completion. It is illegal. In Nathanís this can result in a one hot dog deduction or a disqualification. It will be up to the highest ranked IFOCE member on hand.

7. When the contest is nearing an end, the host will count down from 10 or five seconds as a warning to let eaters know that time is almost up. When count is over all eaters are to place whatever remains in their hands down on their plate. Eaters should not attempt to stuff food into their mouth during the last 10 seconds Ė if an eater is unable to safely swallow the food immediately they will receive a significant deduction.

8. When the contest ends there will be no handling of food by contestants. Eaters should remain with their plates and should not allow anyone to remove their plates. This is the responsibility of the eater. An appointed judge will inspect the plates and surrounding area.

9. Any disputes will be addressed by the IFOCE host/judge or by me if I am present. All rulings are final.

I look forward to a season of fair and equitable eating, and I can not wait for the great competitive eating event in Coney on July Fourth.

Thank You, and Stay Hungry.

- Commissioner Hungry Charles Hardy

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