The Buffalo space is dwelling to Ronnie Hartman, however not in a strict sense of the definition.
“After I was 28 years outdated, I moved to Buffalo and it saved my life,” stated Hartman, who will compete in his seventh Nathan’s Scorching Canine Consuming Contest at 10:30 a.m. Monday at Coney Island. The July 4 occasion will probably be televised on ESPN.
Hartman, knowledgeable wrestler who goes by Megabyte Ronnie and ranks because the world’s Twentieth-best aggressive eater, hit all-time low after leaving the U.S. Military in 2014 following deployment in Afghanistan. A self-proclaimed “navy brat,” he moved to North Carolina to stay together with his mom – as a result of he had no different possibility and nowhere he recognized as “dwelling.”
“I wasn’t accountable to be out right here,” Hartman stated Friday of the primary few years again in civilian life. “I used to be lacking days of labor, dropping cash, spending cash on silly issues. I had a dead-end job, no cash to my title. I labored the evening shift on weekends, so I had no social life.
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“It was simply depressing. I do not understand how I used to be functioning again then,” he stated.
Hartman joined the aggressive consuming circuit within the U.S. and saved sufficient cash to journey as much as Buffalo for the Nationwide Buffalo Wing Competition in September 2018. “I noticed town and I fell in love with it,” he stated. It was there that he reconnected with Trent Walden, one in all his finest associates from the navy, who invited him to maneuver into the basement of his Orchard Park dwelling that December.
Ronnie Hartman, pictured competing on the Nationwide Buffalo Wing Competition.
Hartman stays grateful, particularly as a result of Walden’s spouse, Jenna, was mid-pregnancy in the course of the months Hartman lived of their dwelling.
The brand new begin turned Hartman’s fortunes. He joined Grapplers Nameless, a wrestling faculty in Lackawanna, to spark his professional wrestling profession, and held info expertise jobs at regulation agency Goldberg Segalla and New Period Cap. He now lives in Fort Drum, close to Watertown, the place his spouse – whom he met in Buffalo – serves within the Military.
“I by no means lived wherever longer than two or three years,” stated Hartman, who was born in Fort Polk, La., the place he stayed just a few months earlier than shifting to Germany. “I moved my whole life. I by no means felt like I used to be from wherever till I moved to Buffalo, and now I lastly have a hometown.”
Hartman hits Coney Island contemporary off his private finest in a sizzling canine consuming contest, slamming 29.5 sizzling canine and buns in 10 minutes throughout a qualifier final weekend in Washington, D.C., however he is nonetheless not bursting with confidence forward of the downstate vacation spectacle.
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“I am not delusional,” Hartman stated. “I am not going to be wherever close to Joey Chestnut, Geoff Esper, Miki Sudo, these folks – but when I can stand up there and beat folks ranked forward of me, that is actually what my competitors is.”
Chestnut has received 14 of the final 15 Nathan’s competitions, setting a world file by consuming 76 sizzling canine in final 12 months’s competitors whereas Sudo, the favourite on the ladies’s facet, returns after lacking final 12 months as she anticipated her first little one.
It has been a battle for Hartman to qualify for Nathan’s, one in all few official consuming competitions that requires qualification. He did not seal his place in 2015, 2016 and 2017, regardless of touring to Chicago, Tennessee and Georgia to take part in qualifiers, however Monday will make 4 straight earned journeys.
“I believe if the new canine are good, and all of the situations are there, I believe I can positively hit 35,” Hartman stated of his sizzling canine goal. “I am going into it saying I will be completely satisfied if I break 30.”
Whereas Hartman stated that to him the competitors is primarily a bodily problem, he didn’t low cost the psychological mountain.
“Consuming as many sizzling canine as you may for 10 minutes, that is tough,” he stated. “Generally I am up there and it is like minute six and mentally I am like, ‘Man, what am I doing with my life?'”
Hartman believes he thrives with softer, sweeter meals that require much less chewing. He rampaged by 14 kilos of strawberry shortcake in eight minutes throughout a latest competitors, dropping to an opponent who ate one pound extra. That consequence was telling for Hartman in regard to his strengths, nonetheless, as that victor often eats round 40 sizzling canine. Hen wings are additionally not Hartman’s forte.
Ronnie Hartman’s Buffalo-themed tattoo on his left bicep.
“That is what we name a way meals, and I eat like a barbarian,” Hartman stated. “It sucks that I am not good on the ones I would wish to be good at.”
Regardless that Monday’s occasion will not be in Hartman’s wheelhouse, he can not wait. “It is the very best weekend of the 12 months,” he stated.
Hartman carries Buffalo with him by a tattoo on his left bicep. It is half hen wing, half Buffalo skyline, with town title scrawled throughout the center.
“Buffalo is a metropolis that is like, ‘Yeah, we could also be beat up, however at the least we’re nonetheless on this collectively,'” Hartman stated. “It actually looks like a neighborhood in Buffalo. It looks like someplace I might go if I ever wanted one thing.”
Ben Tsujimoto might be reached at email@example.com, at (716) 849-6927 or on Twitter at @Tsuj10.
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