Reeves Buffalos Competition in Norfolk

Collard Green had the crowd behind him on Saturday at the MacArthur Center Mall in Norfolk. Men nodded encouragement, children waved, women wept. Their hero, a man who had singlehandedly brought honor to a forgotten region and a neglected bitter green, was about to make history.

But he did not. In an unexpectedly fierce battle, Green, whose given name is Carson Hughes, placed fourth to a trio of interlopers from New York, of all places.

Jim Reeves, a Buffalo chicken wing eating sepcialist from Buffalo, NY, won the day, consuming 18 3/4 Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns, a new Virginia record. Crazy Legs Conti of Manhattan placed second with 18 hot dogs even and Big Brian Subich of the Pennsylvania/New York border placed third with 15 hot dogs.

Reeves was in a zone throughout the competition, eating with a rhythm
and movement that approached dance, his shoulders dipping and twitching as he squeezed out excess air from his stomach.

Green, however, was undeterred by his loss, vowing to compete in other qualifiers to make it to Coney Island for the Fourth of July. The sentiment of the crowd was unanimous: "Godspeed, Collard, our hearts are with you."