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Refrigerator Perry to Try Hand at Hot Dogs


Former NFL star William 'The Refrigerator' Perry served notice to the sport of competitive eating on Saturday, winning a qualifying contest for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest and earning a spot in the annual summer classic in Coney Island., a leading offshore gaming company for over 10 years, will serve as The Fridge's official sponsor for his appearance in the Nathan's Famous event.

The exclusive sports book of the 2003 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition, has 'The Fridge' opening as a 100-to-1 shot to win the contest. The bookmaker also lists Perry as a 50/1 long shot to break the American record of 30 hot dogs and at 100/1 to break the world record of 50 ½ hot dogs.

'The Fridge,' who weighs in at more than 400 pounds, has his sights set on reigning world champion Takeru Kobayashi, who at 130 pounds, is less than a third of Perry's size. Last year Kobayashi consumed 50 ½ hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, while The Fridge ate 12 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes to qualify - again proving that size doesn't matter. has the considerably larger Perry receiving a 40 hot dog handicap from Kobayashi in a head-to-head match up.

"This gives William Perry the chance to follow in the footsteps of other two-sport stars like Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders," said Richard Shea, spokesman for Nathan's Famous. "Competitive eating requires a unique combination of athleticism and discipline, and only time will tell if Perry's talent on the gridiron will carry over to Coney Island."

Perry gained international notoriety during his rookie year in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. Through that 16-1 rookie season, his 9 year NFL career, and now eight years in retirement, The Fridge has maintained his status as one of football's most beloved big-men. His Super Bowl ring remains the largest ever made and his popularity continues to grow. Competitive Eating fans can visit for information on qualified competitors for the 2003 contest, history of the Nathan's Famous event and the growing sport of Competitive Eating. will have official betting lines on the 2003 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Contest available until 11 a.m. Eastern on July 4th, an hour before the start of the contest.

Held every year since 1916, the contest draws the finest competitive eaters from around the world to battle for the coveted Mustard Yellow Championship Belt, the World Cup of competitive eating. For the past two years, Takeru Kobayashi of Japan has won the Fourth of July contest. In 2002, Kobayashi set a new world record by downing 50 and ½ Nathan's Famous hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

The Nathan's Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating contest is sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating and sponsored by French's Mustard, and

French's® Mustard, the exclusive mustard of the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating circuit, will hold a tasting of its various flavors prior to the contest. The tasting will be presented by the French's 'Mustard Man' character, who will also join the Nathan's 'Frankster' to conduct a Neat Eating Contest., a special good manners contest in which children eat one Nathan's hot dog topped with French's Mustard as neatly as possible. is conducting a raffle for a free trip to New York City to judge the July 4 competition, and Orbitz will also present the July 4 Champion with a travel package.

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