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Conti Column Puts Seiken in Coney

by Crazy Legs Conti

With the unveiling of the Nathan’s 2007 qualifying circuit, Major League Eaters have spun into a frenzy of speculation, planning and logistics. I have personnally handicapped hot dog qualifiers since I attended, as a spectator, my first Nathan’s finals in the summer of 1997. I have done so, quietly without announcement or fanfare, until now. This year’s qualifying circuit may hold a surprise unparalleled in hot dog futures speculation (also known as playing the bun margins).

After producing a legal size spreadsheet (on my illegally obtained spreadsheet software) of each qualifier, likely participants, and potential outcomes, I showed it to only two people. Rich Shea called it, “The Matrix.” Eater X asked, “What, no PowerPoint?”

Regardless, both missed the important highlighted quadrant, number 4G near the bottom of the page. Here the June 27th Civil Service Qualifier is highlighted. This event is open only to New York City civil service employees and my matrix has the winner listed as none other than Beautiful Brian Seiken.

The Civil Service qualifier is rich with history. It is where a sprite NYC corrections officer named Charles Hardy made his pro eating debut. In 2005 Charles, now known as the Godfather of Competitive Eating, would bequeath the civil service contest to Eric “Badlands” Booker, a train conductor with the MTA. The Godfather, having crushed the will of aspiring gurgitating schoolteachers and cops over six years, paved a road of sparse competition for Badlands.

Badlands’ challengers: a bespectacled accountant with a water-filled punch bowl (legal in the Dunk Tank Era) could get down eleven. Hollow Hall Schimmel, in an ill-fitting suit, could get down four to six during the contest, but routinely carried home a deuce of leftovers. Badlands’ most notable qualifier happened at the historic South Street Seaport in 2006 when he rapped his way to thirty and a half HDBs.

Today, Hungry Charles is retired and busy as the commissioner of the IFOCE. Badlands, also retired, is ascending the ranks of hip hop royalty and, like Dr. Dre before him, busy bringing other rappers into the limelight (most notably Akwafresh and a spitter named High Score.)

It seemed only natural that the Civil Service crown should fall to Alan “The Shredder” Goldstein, an audiologist at an NYC veterans’ hospital. In 2006, Goldstein made overtures to Badlands trying to get him to qualify at Shea stadium. Call it carb collusion, but Badlands was not swayed. The Shredder was forced to step out from the behind the voluminous shadow of Ed “Cookie” Jarvis and consume a personal best 21.5 HDBs at a civilian contest, his hometown Long Island Ducks qualifier.

We now find ourselves firmly entrenched in 2007 and an amateur regional prognosticator would assume that The Shredder would take the easy road and wait until the Civil Servant qualifier. However, With Justice Feingold playing ball in Israel, the Shredder now owns the Ducks event and won't travel out of Suffolk County save a possible jaunt to the Molly Pitcher rest area. So, there is only one ranked pro who could dominate the Civil Service showdown. A man who splits time as a court employee, a post office clerk, and a rabblerousing, blogging gossipmonger, the Perez Hilton of Stilton, BB Seiken.

That’s right, Beautiful Brian is going to Coney as the 2007 Civil Service champ. Could it be that in his tenth year of competing Beautiful Brian will walk the catwalk of Stillwell Ave and ascend the grand stage at Coney Island for his debut at the finals? If the stars and spreadsheets align, on June 27th, Double B will rock the Civil Service contest as the lyrical stylings of Stephen Morrissey blare from the speakers. “ Please, Please, Please, Let me get what I want. Lord knows it would be the first time.”