Power Returning to South Florida
Jammin’ Joe LaRue, Florida’s reigning Hot Dog Eating Champion who has been inactive since last fall’s devastating hurricane season, recently reported he’d be re-entering the IFOCE circuit at the first qualifier of the 2006 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog season.
“The hurricane took my home, it took my car, it took my power,” said the big man on a recent phone call. “But it didn’t take my hunger, it didn’t take my desire. I’ll be back at the table and I’ll be better than ever.”
While LaRue’s impending return is welcome news to eating fans everywhere, it may be less well received by some of his gurgitating peers.
Many have speculated that LaRue’s absence from the ’05 Krystal circuit facilitated the rise of fashionable newcomers like Bubba Yarbrough and Hall Hunt. Others believe that LaRue, who displayed great things at the beginning of last year (victory in sweet corn, victory at Pembroke Pines Nathan's qualifier), would have likely broken the top ten had he participated in the Krystal, GoldenPalace.com and Verizon circuits.
“LaRue was rolling in early ‘05,” said Hungry Charles Hardy, IFOCE commissioner.
“His disappearance definitely allowed some room for the young guns to come up. With Joe out an obstacle was removed.”
A big obstacle at that: LaRue stands a proud 6’4” and weighs no fewer than 270 pounds. He is a student of the culinary arts who understands the make up of all variety of foodstuffs. Enzymes, Omega 3’s, self-rising dough - LaRue knows these things.
LaRue’s bib sheet proves he knows a few things about sweet corn, baked beans and conch fritters. He also understands he’s got a Florida Hot Dog Title to defend.
“I’ll be at the Nathan’s qualifier on April 15,” says LaRue. “And I don’t anticipate a loss.”