07/03/2009 06:58 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sign of the Apocalype: Elephants vs. Humans at Coney Island eating contest

A lot has happened in the year since American Joey Chestnut took down perennial champ Takeru Kobayashi for the second straight year at the July 4th Coney Island extravaganza.

In a tie-breaker that day Chestnut defended his title and viewers were treated to the spectacle of some back-wash of the final chunks almost consumed by Kobayashi. Or as they call it in the sport, a reversal.

And competitive eating grew into a close cousin of pro wrestling as its governing body, the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) website makes very clear.

Join their members, host an event, learn all about the eaters and find out the latest news on qualifiers for all those contests. If hot dogs aren't your thing, you can strain your esophagus with pork rinds, tri-tip or calamari.

Play along at home if you own a Nintendo Wii console. Oh yeah, "Major League Eating: The Game" is now available, with all the expected disclaimers of course. Here's a sample:

All eaters in this game are skilled professionals over the age of 18. If this isn't you, don't do it".

OK then, but I digress from the original theme of this article. Today, July 3rd a preliminary event will take place in Coney Island and it features Asian elephants on loan from the Ringling Brothers® circus (how perfect) and humans. Who can be the first to consume the most hot dog buns in a span of six minutes? Will it be Bunny, Minnie or Susie, from Team Elephant?

The press release lets us know how crucial this is to both the human race and the animal kingdom. George Shea, Chairman of Major League Eating said:

If the humans win it shows we are unbeatable in this sport, and if the elephants win it will significantly enhance their stature in the animal kingdom."

What else can one say? Here's another fun fact. The three humans in this cross-species event, Juliet Lee, Gravy Brown and Patrick Bertoletti are using this as a mere warm up for the human vs. human contest on July 4th.

You know how CBS and Jim Nantz have defined the Masters golf tournament each year as a "tradition unlike any other"? I think the Masters has found its match.

Read about last year's Coney Island "Chew-Off" to break tie between Chestnut and Kobayashi, here