Competitive eating, often known as fast eating, is a sport in which participants compete to devour massive amounts of food in a short period of time. Typically, contests last eight to ten minutes, but some can last up to thirty minutes, with the winner being the person who consumes the most food. Competitive eating is especially popular in the United States, Canada, and Japan, where professional eating competitions often provide monetary prizes. The first pie-eating competition was conducted in Toronto in 1878. Albert Piddington won the tournament, which was held to raise money for charity. It is unknown how many pies were consumed. The reward was a “Handsomely Bound Book.” As a result, eating contests, especially those involving pie, became increasingly popular, and they were staged at county fairs across Canada and the United States. One of the most famous early eating competitors was Joe McCarthy, who downed 31 pies in a contest held at Charles Tanby’s Saloon in 1897. At a Manhattan Fat Men’s Club dinner in 1909, Frank Dotzler made news after eating “275 oysters, 8 & 1/8th pounds of meat, 12 buns, and 3 gigantic pies, all washed down with 11 cups of coffee.” The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, an annual holiday ritual that has taken place on July 4 on Coney Island every year since 1916, is primarily to blame for competitive eating’s recent rise in popularity. While the origins are uncertain, it is claimed to have started when four immigrants wanted to show their patriotism by eating as many hot dogs as they could. However, in 2010, promoter Mortimer Matz admitted to creating the 1916 start date with a man named Max Rosey in the early 1970s as part of a publicity stunt. Despite the fact that no documentation of the event existed, the mythology grew to the point where The New York Times and other newspapers were known to have chosen 1916 as the contest’s debut year. Other early contests were held on other summer holidays besides Independence Day because Coney Island is so intimately associated with summertime festivities.