Sonya Thomas, aka "The Black Widow," chows down at an oyster eating competition.

Call it gross, gluttonous or amazing, competitive eating is recognized as a sport. It has caught enough of the public’s attention that the Nathan’s Famous July 4 International Hot Dog Eating Contest is featured on ESPN, and the WIP Wing Bowl draws a crowd of 20,000 fanatics each year. The appetizing activity is in demand, and according to organizers, the events are relatively easy to organize.

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