The Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest is famous for its “gurgitators” (eaters), but it also has “bunnettes.” A “bunnette” (from the hot dog “bun,” but with a nod to the Playboy “bunny”) flips the number cards to count the number of hot dogs (or other foods, in other contests) that a gurgitator eats. It’s a difficult job—the action is fast.
The bunnettes have been attractive women, but the Major League Eating’s official definition (below) definies “bunnette” as a any “person, usu. female.” The definition of “bunnette” expands to include any female fan of competitive eating contests.
The word “bunnette” is cited in print since 1999. MLE claims that the term is trademarked, but no offical trademark is on record.
Major League Eating (MLE)
bun 1 (bun) n.
1. A small bread roll, often sweetened or spiced.
Bunnette (bunet) n.
1. (Trad.) A person, usu. female, who counts the amount of food eaten by competitors in Major League Eating events.
2. A woman, usu. seductive by disposition, who is passionate about the sport of competitive eating and its practitioners.
When little girls dream, they dream of one day becoming a Bunnette™. A Bunnette is more beautiful than Miss America, hotter than a Cowboys Cheerleader and more talented than Vanna White.
Now is your opportunity to become an official Major League Eating Bunnette and win a chance to appear on TV in a Major League Eating championship.* And if you’re voted America’s Favorite Bunnette™ you will also receive a dream weekend for two in Las Vegas!**
5 July 1999, Atlantic City (NJ) Press, “The King of Hot Dogs Lives in EHT” by Mark Tyler:
The Bunnettes, two perky blondes in sunglasses, boogied by his side.
Horsemen of the Esophagus
Among the super-gluttons, on the front lines of competitive eating
by Jason Fagone
In 2001, DeVito was fulfilling his commissioner’s duty to act as the “head judge,” the one who relays hot-dog totals from the judges, who squat in front of the tables, to the card girls (“Bunnettes”), who display the totals on flippable blue cards they hold high above their heads, so audience members can keep track of the leaders.
A Bunnette, having run out of flippable cards, held up a yellow sheet bearing the number 30.
The People Have Spoken on Our Bunnette Contest, And The Winner Is…
Feedbag HQ has been deluged by emails voting for the contestants in our Bunnette contest. Just to remind you, three lovely women have been nominated by the ‘Bag to count the buns and rally the eaters to greater heights of gurgitation at this week’s Nathan’s Famous hot-dog eating contest. They were Courtney Rosenquist, the spunky ex-cheerleader; blogger Zoe Yang of Strictly Platonic; and our own Emily Morris, Citysearch intern and author of Freaky Foods.
The response has been overwhelming, and the winner is…Zoe Yang! But the support for Courtney and Emily has been strong too, and as a result The Feedbag, together with Major League Eating, have decided to send all three girls to the contest as Bunnettes!