One of the best parts of watching the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest (on ESPN, of all places) every July 4 from Coney Island is the “pregame” introductions, creatively spewed onstage to the masses every year by Major League Eating co-founder George Shea.
Shea works hard to come up with creative ways to tell the thousands of people at the intersection of Surf and Stillwell before they head off to grill meat, hang out with friends and watch fireworks and the millions who watch it on TV about all the gastronomic feats the competitors have accomplished on their way to The Main Event.
But what good would Shea’s creativity be if no one could hear it? This year, PLUSMUSIC and Audio Production Services helped more than 30,000 fans of the 10-minute gorge-fest hear everything clearly using KV2 equipment.
Simon Nathan, president of Audio Production Services, has been the sound engineer at the hot dog eating contest for the last 10 years.
“We needed a system that was powerful enough to reach a massive, outdoor crowd, that was small enough to not be visually obtrusive for the ESPN broadcast,” Nathan says. “KV2 was perfect for an outdoor event of this size, because you don’t need lots of it to get a big sound.”
Using an ES1.0 system for the main audience at the front of the stage, Nathan used an ES1.8 and ES2.6 on each side. Two front speakers were used, each an EX26, as well as an ESR215 on each side. For the delay system, Nathan chose two ES1’s on top of two ES1.8s and an ES2.5.
“The event is held at a kind of a cross-section, so the sound has to be projected in four different directions,” he says. “I was amazed at how clean and clear the sound was, no matter where you were standing in that massive crowd.”
Prior to the main event, during which Matt Stonie ate 62 hot dogs to knock off eight-time champion Joey Chestnut, the audience was also treated to more than two hours of performances by more than a dozen local bands, singers, dance crews and DJs from the New York City area.
For those with a bit of morbid curiosity, here’s a look at my failed attempt to eat my way to the Coney Island stage a few years ago. I finished with seven hot dogs and buns (HDBs for those in the know) consumed, narrowly losing to Matt Stonie (who was on an auxiliary stage because we were inside a beer garden and he was only 20 at the time), 42-7.