If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.
That's Takeru Kobayashi's philosophy. The long-time king of competitive eating will, once again, celebrate the Fourth of July on his own terms.
Fans of the sport will recall Kobayashi being arrested in 2010 at the Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest after refusing to sign an exclusivity contract with Major League Eating. Last Independence Day, he simulcast his own frankfurter challenge alongside the famous Coney Island event.
But this year will be completely different as Kobayashi and other competitive eaters will face off at the inaugural Crif Dog Classic. But this is not just another hot dog battle.
"It was conceived as a part of something much larger than your average competitive eating contest," Kobayashi says. "It will be nothing short of a party."
Crif Dog owner Brian Shebairo and Kobayashi have become close recently, with Shebairo traveling with him to the Wing Bowl in Philadelphia in February. That's where the Crif Dog Classic was plotted.
"Brian saw and spoke with so many talented independent eaters, and upon returning to New York asked if I'd be interested in helping him put on a Fourth of July party," Kobayashi reveals.
Roberta's, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, will host the event with live music, food and celebrity guests. The main event will be a 10-minute Crif Dog throw-down. Kobayashi will square off against nine other professional eaters including Thomas "Goose" Gilbert, Dave "US Male" Goldstein and Stephanie "Chilita" Torres.
This event is exactly what Kobayashi has wanted since his dispute with MLE. He not only gets to compete on his own terms, but he gets to build something from the ground up.
"I'm living my own American dream," Kobayashi says. "If that doesn't epitomize Independence Day, I'm not sure what does."
-- Adam Watson is the food czar at ThePostGame. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamKWatson.
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