Steve Keiner

Steven "Steve" Keiner is an American competitive eater. He was the 1999 winner of the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, downing 20¼ hot dogs in 12 minutes.[1] Keiner is from Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey[2] and like many competitive eaters has used nicknames during contests; one of his nicknames, "Ralph," was given to him by newspaper reporter Gersh Kuntzman, because Kuntzman "gave the eaters nicknames that linked them to sporting heroes past"[3] (possibly inspired by the name of baseball hall-of-famer Ralph Kiner, in this particular case). Kuntzman also provided much of the only media coverage of the controversy surrounding Keiner's title, reporting that video appeared to show that Keiner may have begun eating his hot dogs just before the contest's starting gun was fired.[4] Keiner is also sometimes known on the competitive eating circuit as "The Terminator."[5][6]


  1. Mcfadden, Robert D. "Holiday Parades March By, But the Heat Is Just Settling In", The New York Times, July 5, 1999. Accessed December 20, 2007. "As a crowd wavering between nausea and fascination watched for 12 minutes, Steve Keiner, 50, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., downed 20 and one-quarter hot dogs to defeat the reigning Hirofumi Nakajima, a 134-pound former noodle-eating champ from Japan, who managed only 19 franks."
  2. Beth J. Harpaz (July 5, 1999). "Champ of frank-eating contest: The hot dog was one with me". Moscow (Idaho)-Pullman (Wash.) Daily News (sec. A, p. 5).
  3. Jason Fagone (2006). "Horsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream". Crown/Archetype.
  4. Gersh Kuntzman (July 6, 1999). "Tape Shows Hot-Dog Champ Jumped The Bun". New York Post.
  5. "Japanese Challenger Has a New World Record to Relish". Los Angeles Times. July 5, 2000.
  6. Frank Dougherty (July 7, 1999). "A Beef Mars Terminator's Dog-eating Triumph". Philadelphia Inquirer.

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