For Eric ‘Bandlands’ Booker, everyone’s family until the eating starts

Eric ‘Badlands’ Booker is one of many competitive eating legends embarking on a new challenge to prove who is truly the greatest. 

Ever wonder why someone embarks on a career that involves competitive eating? Eric “Badlands” Booker has a simple answer.

“I did it for the hot dogs.”

Specifically, he did it to get a year’s worth of free hot dogs.

Every year. 

“If I can win this every year, I’ll have free hot dogs for the year.”

That’s was part of the prize for winning the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island back in 1997, when Badlands first waded into waters that he’d help make legendary. In the twenty-plus years after he first started competitively eating, Badlands has become an icon for his ability to train for competitions by finding ways to expand his stomach and strengthen his jaw (Spoiler: Lots and lots of gum).

But while it’s easy to brush off competitive eating as chintzy Fourth of July entertainment, it’s much more than that. For Badlands and other competitive eaters, it’s no different than the bond formed by players in a locker room.

“Major League Eating is a big family. We look forward to going out to any event that we do. It’s kind of like our escape,” Badlands told FanSided’s Mark Carman. “It’s like we’re the Avengers going out into battle.”

But while there’s a brotherhood formed by the sport, there’s still a competitive fury that fuels everyone involved.

“[When we’re eating] I don’t care who you are, from the bottom tier all the way to Joey Chestnut you’re going down.”

Badlands is participating in the Quarantine Eating Challenge hosted by Major League Eating, which is exactly what it sounds like. Starting on Friday and alternating every other day,

And if you’re a gambler looking to fill the void left by there being no sports to wager on, the eating challenge is here to bail you out. Everything, including betting on whether or not someone will barf (which is currently running 8/1 odds in favor of that happening), is on the table.

Who will win the Quarantine Eating Challenge?

  • Joey Chestnut 1/1
  • Matt Stonie 4/1
  • Darron Breeden 5/1
  • Gideon Oji 6/1
  • Miki Sudo 10/1
  • Michelle Lesco 12/1
  • Nick Wehry 12/1
  • Eric Booker 20/1

We live in bizarro times, so buckle up (or if you’re competing, unbuckle) and embrace the Quarantine Eating Challenge.