9 Questions for Bob Shoudt

Then he took a long lunch break back in ’03, drove down the Turnpike to the Molly Pitcher exit, and took third place at his first Nathan’s qualifier. That was enough to establish his name on the circuit—Bob Shoudt had arrived.

But it wasn’t until ’05 that he became Humble Bob. Like a scene out of some movie we’ve never seen, he came flying into the Boomtown Casino, having just touched down at Reno/Tahoe International, and he ate with the kind of animalistic voracity we have come to associate with a Shoudt performance, earning 2nd place and $1,000. After such dominance, one would have thought he’d choose some flashy nickname – Bob the Burperator, or Blazin’ Bob – but not this guy. He was so humble that he chose the only name that could accurately capture how humble he was – Humble Bob.

Three years, eleven first-place finishes, and $38,000 in prize money later, Bob’s moniker is so alive-and-kicking that there’s even a namesake website dedicated to his exploits, And through it all, he has remained just that, humble, despite having registered one of the most shocking upsets of the ’07 season, a 95 burger 2nd place finish over higher-ranked eaters like Simpson, Janus, Thomas, and Bertoletti.

We sat down with The Humble One recently over some lamb shanks, fava beans, and a fine Chianti, and got to know the man beneath the man beneath the man.

1. Describe your first contest experience/How did you discover your talent?

My first IFOCE contest was the 2002 Nathan's Qualifier at the Molly Pitcher rest area on the NJ turnpike. I talked my boss into letting a coworker and myself take a long lunch. I had no idea what I was doing. I was going into it thinking that for sure I would dunk the hotdogs just like I had seen on TV. As I waited to be introduced I started to get really nervous.

When the contest started I thought the only way I could keep up was to swallow huge chunks. I noticed that no one around me was dunking and I was thinking, “these guys are pros, I better not dunk.” In the end I was third.
Afterwards I thought that maybe I had a knack for this and I should pursue it again.

2. Meats or Sweets?

If I had to choose, I would go with meats. It doesn't really matter to me though. I prefer things that come in units that are consistent and easy to eat. Meatballs and Krystals come to mind. Anything that you can just pick up and eat. Hot dogs are not easy to eat as you have to keep biting off a certain length. Turkey - the pieces are not the same. Shoo-fly varies.

3. What do you eat for breakfast every morning?

Each morning I eat a mutli-vitamin, flax seed oil pill, glucosamine/chondroitin pill, omega three pill and at least 36 ounces of soda.

4. What is the most challenging event on the circuit?

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Finals.

5. What music do you listen to during competition?

"It's Tricky" by Run DMC, "Allstar" by Smashmouth, and "Going the Distance" by Cake.

6. What is the last book you read (or favorite book)?

Favorite book I have ever read and one of the best real life manuals that was ever written is "Oh the Places You'll Go," by Dr. Suess. This is a fascinating read that is incredibly accurate. I try to read it at least once every other week. Sheer genius.

7. What is the last movie that you saw (or favorite movie)?

My favorite movie is "Pulp Fiction." The depth of the characters was fantastic. The interwoven stories and plot lines make it a classic.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I would love to try to be a sports agent. I am fairly confident that this will happen some day.

9. What is your favorite website?

By far it is I go there first and I go there often. I think however you are asking my favorite content provider as opposed to utility. Then it would be That site provides a lot of great tips on how to get the best deals on just about everything. That site is another good one.

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