If you thought 20,000 was a large number of spectators, think again. When Nathan's held its Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, 1.5 million people tuned in to watch. As the sport's followers grew to epic proportions, we couldn't comprehend what made competitive eating one of the world's fastest-growing sports. For the competitors, a Major League Eating rep explained, competitive eating "transcends their former identity as a waiter . . . or whatever."