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Nathan's Famous 2012 Circuit is Announced
3/20/2012

NATHANíS FAMOUS ANNOUNCES 2012 QUALIFYING CIRCUIT FOR JULY FOURTH INTERNATIONAL HOT DOG EATING CHAMPIONSHIP

Nathanís Famous, Inc. has unveiled the official list of cities holding hot dog eating contests to qualify the champions who will compete in the 97th annual July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Contest. The Nathanís Famous qualifying tour occurs each year in cities across the U.S. and beyond. This yearís circuit will begin in Michigan on April 21st and visit 12 other cities before the final event takes place on July 4, 2012 at the Nathanís Famous flagship in Coney Island, NY.

Qualifying events will occur at Nathanís Famous retail locations, music festivals, city centers and Major League ballparks. The top male and top female finishers from each qualifier will earn a trip to compete in the ESPN televised finals at the original Nathanís Famous in Coney Island on July Fourth. This yearís live ESPN show will air on July 4th at 3:00 PM Eastern immediately following Wimbledon.

ďThe annual qualifying circuit enables us to bring a genuine taste of Coney Island to cities near and far. I am especially pleased that weíre visiting new markets such as St. Paul and Naples this spring and summer,Ē said Wayne Norbitz, President and COO of Nathanís Famous, Inc. ďLong before the crowd gathers in Brooklyn, and before the ESPN cameras turn on, Nathanís will host more than a dozen fun-filled events around the country.Ē

In recent years, an estimated 40,000 fans have made the pilgrimage to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the Nathanís Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest in person. The live ESPN telecast of the event drew an audience of 1.95 million viewers in 2011. It was the highest rated telecast since ESPN began broadcasting the event in 2004.

Joey Chestnut of San Jose, CA holds the world record for eating 68 Nathanís Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes, and he will seek his sixth straight title this year. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, VA will defend her title as Female Champion. She consumed 40 Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes last year.

Host cities of the 2012 Nathanís Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit include Las Vegas, NV, Boston, MA, Naples, FL, St. Paul, MN, Atlantic City, NJ, Cleveland, OH, Tempe, AZ, Queens, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, Garden City, MI, Thackerville, OK and Charlotte, NC. This year, Nathanís will also hold a qualifying event in Calgary, Canada.

According to archives, the Nathanís Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant. Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the Nathanís Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.

**Registration for the qualifying circuit will take place ONLY at www.IFOCE.com beginning at 11:00 AM ET on Thursday, March 22nd. All competitors must be 18 years or older. **

OFFICIAL 2012 NATHAN'S FAMOUS QUALIFYING CIRCUIT

Saturday, April 21 - Detroit, MI (Kmart, Ford Road in Garden City)

Saturday, April 28 - Las Vegas, NV (New York, New York Hotel & Casino)

Saturday, May 12 - Naples, FL

Saturday, May 19 - Atlantic City, NJ (Trump Plaza)

Saturday, June 2 - Calgary, Alberta, CA (CrossIron Mills Mall)

Saturday, June 2 - Queens, NY (Citi Field)

Sunday, June 3 - St. Paul, MN (Grand Old Day Festival, Grand Avenue)

Thursday, June 7 - Cleveland, OH (Tower City Mall)

Saturday, June 9 - Tempe, AZ (Arizona Mills Mall)

Sunday, June 10 - Thackerville, OK (WinStar World Casino)

Wednesday, June 13 - Pittsburgh, PA (Market Square)

Saturday, June 16 - Charlotte, NC (Concord Mills Mall)

Saturday, June 23 - Boston, MA (Phantom Gourmet BBQ Fest, City Hall Plaza)

Wednesday, July 4 - Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest - Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY



About Nathanís Famous
Nathanís products are currently distributed in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Cayman Islands and six foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. The Nathanís restaurant system currently consists of 302 units, comprised of 297 franchised units and five company-owned units (including one seasonal unit). For additional information about Nathanís please visit www.nathansfamous.com and become a fan of the Nathan's Famous Facebook Page.