NEW YORK – In the fight of pachyderms vs. people — the pachyderms now have the upper trunk.
Three circus elephants scored a decisive victory over three human competitive eaters at a cross-species eating contest Friday, chomping down on 505 hot dog buns in six minutes. The humans forced down only 143 buns in the bout at Brooklyn's Coney Island.
The elephants, Bunny, Susie and Minnie — all in their 40s — ate at what appeared to be a leisurely pace from behind a table piled high with buns. They even paused to eat some fresh fruit, which was not counted toward scoring.
Their human competitors were far more focused. Eric "Badlands" Booker, a New York City subway conductor who is the world champion in corned beef hash eating, took a double-fisted approach, dipping two buns at once into liquid to make them go down easier.
Juliet Lee, a petite 43-year-old who started the contest with her midriff exposed, pushed several buns into her stretched mouth simultaneously. Originally from China, Lee is the world cranberry sauce champion, a title she won by eating 13.23 pounds of the sauce in eight minutes.
Tim "Gravy" Brown, whose claim to fame is having eaten 8.47 pounds of blueberry pie in an eight-minute, handsfree competition, rounded out the team.
"We went all out, hungry and focused," said Booker, who like the others was preparing for Saturday's annual Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. Friday's match was sponsored by Major League Eating and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
Contest organizers called the results a "setback for humanity," but the two sides may not have been fairly matched. The humans weigh about 500 pounds collectively, while the Asian elephants weigh about 9 tons, the organizers said.