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Wienerman World Championship planned in Luverne

LUVERNE -- First there were free wieners, then there were wiener dog races and now -- now Luverne is going to host its first-ever Wienerman World Championships.

Billed as part triathlon and part competitive eating, the contest is planned as part of the community's 49th annual Hot Dog Nite on July 14.

Teams are already forming for the Wienerman World Championships, but there is plenty of room for more participation. Dave Duffy, event organizer, said 13 teams have registered so far and they have room for up to 50 teams. Registration deadline is July 8.

Duffy's idea for the competition stemmed from a show he watched on the Food Network about the Doughman Challenge in Durham, N.C. While the Wienerman World Championships is organized in similar fashion, all of the food items contain wieners. Duffy is quick to add there will be vegetarian and gluten-free options available for those requiring it.

The Wienerman World Championship begins at 7 p.m. July 14 on Main Street in Luverne.

Each four-person team will begin with an eating challenge in which each team will be served four hot dogs. One member from each team will then run seven-tenths of amile to Sharkee's Sports Bar for the Shilly Wiener Cheese Tank Challenge (he or she must eat a hot dog Philly cheese steak sandwich with seasoned fries). Next, the participant will run 1.7 miles to the Rock County Pool on Blue Mound Avenue and complete one lap swim before tagging off to a teammate.

The second team member will complete the Super Colossal Wiener Challenge (eat a quarter-pound hot dog with a choice of either baked beans or potato salad catered by ChitChat's) at the Rock County Pool grounds before embarking on a 2.4-mile run that brings those participants on a designated route that ends back at the pool. There, they will tag their third teammate.

The third team member gets to take the Big Wienie Mac Challenge (eat homemade mac and cheese with hot dog meatballs and corn chips catered by Glen's Food Center) at the pool grounds before taking a six-mile bike ride to Blue Mound State Park, up the hill to the Interpretive Center, and then back into town to tag the fourth and final team member at the Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce.

The fourth participant must run two-tenths of a mile to the Pizza Ranch on Luverne's Main Street, where he or she will take the Ranch Wagon Wheel Wiener Challenge (eat a small hot dog pizza), then run seven-tenths of a mile to Sharkee's Sports Bar for a mystery challenge. Finally, the team member will run eight-tenths of a mile to downtown Luverne.

The final portion of the contest is for the entire team to eat Hot Dog Dessert (hot dog cupcakes), then run the final two blocks to the Main Street finish line.

"I didn't want to make it too difficult for the athletic portion of the event," said Duffy. "The fourth leg is really short -- a person not experienced running can still have fun."

Duffy said the contest should bring some added interest in the annual Hot Dog Nite festivities in Luverne. Businesses serve free hotdogs to the public that evening, and several years ago the Wiener dog races were added. Duffy hopes the Wienerman World Championships will keep people downtown for longer in the evening. He anticipates the race will be completed within a couple of hours.

A live band will perform from 8 to 10:30 p.m. on Main Street, and a beer garden will also be set up. All race participants over age 21 will get free beer.

Duffy said community response to the event has been favorable.

"At first they were kind of skeptical," he said. "This is something new and different -- we hope we can keep it going."

Duffy has not yet sampled the foods that will be served during the competition, but it's on his list of things to do this week.

"I'm going to pick one to do each day," he said. "It's not about making people throw up. Next year we'll look at it -- maybe go a little more or a little less."

Trophies will be awarded to the winners in each category: All male team (one woman is allowed on this team); All female team; and co-ed team (two males and two females or three females and one male).

For more information or to register your team for the Wienerman World Championships, visit or call the Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-888-283-4061.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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