"Hungry" Charles Hardy
Hardy’s career as a gurgitator began in 1998, when a co-worker made him an offer he couldn’t refuse—a try-out for the Nathan’s Famous Civil Service Hot Dog Competition. Hardy competed, took the top spot and has continued to dominate in all varieties of food.
He has watched the sport change and says things just aren’t what they used to be. In the old days, “there was no money involved. Back then I’d go just to support the effort—I’d get a day’s notice to go to California, and I’d do it,” he said. The glitz and glamour of the modern day eating scene has clouded rookies’ view of sacrifices of those who paved the way – Krachie, Dellarosa, Devito.
As an active circuit eater, Hardy keeps his friends close and his enemies closer – just as he does in his job at Manhattan Central Booking. His work and avocation are daunting, and he thrives on the love he gets from fellow eaters, co-workers and the newly incarcerated.
“If I didn’t have all this support I couldn’t compete as often as I have,” he said. Hardy’s reign as a distinguished eater (he is known as the Cal Ripken of the calorie) has garnered him much admiration. “The crowd, the media—there are lots of fans out there. It’s taken off real big, and I’m very proud,” he said.
Hardy has spent his whole life trying not to be careless, and thus was always aware that he was helping to shape the organization that is the IFOCE. Without his guidance early on, it would not be as it is today.
Because he has been involved in competitive eating for a while now, it has gained a special place in his heart. Recently, Hardy got the first ever IFOCE tattoo on his bicep. “The IFOCE has meant a lot to me. I have gone places and seen things, seen how the other half lives. It is a part of me.”
Hardy has a sentimental weakness for his family, Edmund, 17; Dominique, 12; and Shanderia, 9. His children, and his wife, Valerie, are well-liked by the eating community and his children have graced the credentials of the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth extravaganza.