NORTH NAPLES — Man bites dog.
One more bite, and man swallows dog.
Adrian Morgan repeated that process 33 times in just 10 minutes Saturday to win the Naples qualifier for Nathan's Famous July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Morgan, 29, said he felt fine after the gorging.
"I feel pretty good today, and I usually do," he said as he signed autographs after the contest. "Every once in a while I don't. It might hit me in an hour."
Morgan, a 195-pound 6-foot-tall resident of Louisiana, will make his second trip to the finals, held in Coney Island on July 4.
He beat out 10 other competitors to qualify for competitive eating's Super Bowl.
Four of the contestants, including three from Naples, call Southwest Florida home.
While none of the competitors came close to matching Morgan's pace, some were serious gurgitators.
One once ate 54 cupcakes in six minutes, while another has scarfed 125 wings in 10 minutes.
Tim Gruters, of Sarasota, has won a few pizza-eating contests and can down a large pizza in just three minutes. His pizza-eating prowess didn't translate to Saturday's competition, however. He finished just seven and one-half hot dogs.
"That was rough," he said. "You'd better like hot dogs in this event, and I only eat about one-half hot dog a year."
The event drew about 200 spectators to the Mercato shopping complex in North Naples.
While some of the spectators were shoppers who stopped to watch out of curiosity, Jeanine Taylor of Naples said she made a special trip to see the competition.
"I'm from New York, and this is an annual New York thing," she said. "I watch (the finals) every year on TV. To see the qualifier, you feel like you are part of it."
Almost 2 million viewers watched the July 4 contest on television last year. The event has drawn about 40,000 live spectators in recent years.
Richard Shea, president and co-founder of Major League Eating, said competitive eating may seem like a recent phenomenon, but it has been a popular activity for centuries. Major League Eating oversees professional eating contests, including Saturday's event.
"People have been eating competitively since the dawn of man," Shea said. "There always have been contests at fairs and festivals — cherry pie eating contests, or sweet corn eating contests — and it's always been a celebration of harvest time.
"But we're an increasingly competitive society," he added. "And I think the eaters are pretty compelling. They are everyday people who do something extraordinary."
That was the allure for Randy Proctor of Naples, who brought his wife and dog to watch Saturday's competition.
"I couldn't do it, there's no way," he said. "We wanted to come take a look and see what it's all about. It's crazy, but there's definitely a technique."
The more serious competitors all dipped their hot dogs in water before eating them. Unlike the others, Morgan contorted his upper body as he pushed the dogs through his mouth and into his throat.
Morgan said he competes at about 20 eating events each year. Leading up to each competition, he stretches his stomach with healthy foods.
"I eat lots of big salads, stuff that takes up a lot of space but doesn't have a lot of calories," he said.
He will have to increase his pace to win in New York. The official hot dog eating record, held by Joey Chestnut, is 68 dogs in 10 minutes.