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COMMENT





Beef bonanza beckoning all
By BRET HART
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Here it comes again: The Great Alberta Beef Eating Contest. I had such a great time at last year's event that I'm really looking forward to doing it all over again -- and then some.

The second-annual extravaganza will kick off at 10:30 a.m. on Labour Day with a fun filled parade in Cochrane. Alex Baum has asked me to ride the Cochrane Dodge chuckwagon in the parade.

The last time anyone asked me if I wanted to take a chuckwagon ride it was champion driver Mark Sutherland during the last Stampede. And as much as I appreciated his kind offer, I politely declined because I'm sure the speed limit would have been a wee bit faster than the Labour Day parade.

After the chuck ride, it's over to the grandstand for the second annual Great Alberta Beef Eating contest. This year's event will be bigger and better, in support of reopening the U.S. border to Alberta beef. Former Stampede wrestler Dan Kroffat and Cochrane Dodge owner Alex Baum are deeply committed to that aim.

More than 50,000 concerned individuals from all over the world have already signed the petition on their website opentheborder.com

Kroffat and Baum stress they're not politically aligned and are in full support of all of the government's endeavours.

"Like restaurants are smoke free, we are politics free," Kroffat explains.

They hope their campaign will raise awareness to all aspects of this crucial issue. Additionally, not being scientists, they do not preach the science of BSE and neither has any financial interest, either professionally or personally, in the beef industry.

They initially envisioned this as a regional effort but were quickly delighted to find their campaign garnering national attention and now international support.

"We've heard from parts of the world that we never imagined," Kroffat said.

My personal trainer, Grant McReynolds -- one of the strongest men in the world -- will be on hand again. He's bringing a contingent of 'leaned out' strongmen from B.J.'s gym and, in addition to Tokyo Joe's equally hungry wrestlers, plan to win the hamburger eating championship of the world.

Grant is apparently keeping a secret weapon of sorts under wraps -- James (Big Gulp) Carmichael. There are those regulars at the gym who still fondly recall when years back, James out-ran and out-ate strongmen Bill Kazmire and Ted Arcedi for a hundred-dollar bet.

I'll have to check the rules but I'll bet ya my pug dog, World Mexican Dog Wrestling Champion Coombs, fresh off winning both the arm wrestling and hundred yard tractor pull at this year's pug fest, could very well eat them all under the table.

Kroffat told me, with a nod and a wink, he'll have a big announcement Monday. He asked me to pass it on that if you're planning to attend any event in support of Alberta beef, this is it.

Knowing Kroffat, that's no bull.

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