Summer sendoff: Cricket Car Hop in Stratford hosts hot dog eating contest

Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end to summer - and one of the season’s most endearing foods got an appropriate sendoff Saturday in Stratford.
The Cricket Car Hop hosted its first hot dog eating contest in its more-than-60-year history, challenging amateurs and professional eaters alike to cut the mustard.
“There was $2,000 that was calling my name,” competitive eater Molly “Mom vs. Food” Schuyler said.
“I get to try to eat as many hot dogs as I can in 10 minutes - that's pretty much like the summer dream!” Stratford’s Ryota Hirata said.
“I’m doing it for Jimmy Buffett, rest in peace,” Trumbull’s Michael Lepore said.
Some relished in their strategy.
“You split the first dog in half, eat it, split the bun in half, dunk it in the water and eat that,” Lepore said. “That's what they say you’ve got to do.”
But all played catch-up to Schuyler, who took home the title with an incredible 54 hot dogs eaten.
“Not going to lie, I don’t want to eat anymore, but I’ll come back for more later,” Schuyler said. “I did it as a hobby, I thought it was kind of fun, and then I made it a career. Really, it just snowballed.”
The restaurant, which celebrated the launch of its new food truck, went through some 500-600 hot dogs.
“It’s all about the families coming in and enjoying something on a beautiful day like this in September, it doesn't get any better than that,” Cricket Car Hop manager Andrew Sando said.