Le Chien Brewing Company's Independence Day party 2021

From left, Axl Lacour, Nicholas Droge, and Gage McTaggart take a celebratory selfie after winning the inaugural hot dog eating contest at Le Chien Brewing Company. The contest pitted Denham Springs police officers and firefighters against one another and was one of the highlights of the brewery’s all-day Independence Day celebration on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

DENHAM SPRINGS -- It was The Dogfather, Just Mike, Big Farf, and Barack versus Joey Chestnut, Big A., and OK Boy.

It was a combined 910 pounds for one team versus 850 pounds for the other.

It was cops versus firefighters.

It was all for a good cause.

A spirited competition between Denham Springs police officers and firefighters highlighted Le Chien Brewing Company’s inaugural Independence Day celebration, an all-day party that included plenty of food and drinks, live music, a dunking booth, and a hot dog eating contest.

Proceeds from the hot dog eating contest and dunking booth were set aside for the Denham Springs Animal Shelter, which was also on hand with some of their adoptable canines.

The hot dog eating contest started a few hours into the event, with Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry serving as emcee. Landry went over the rules and introduced each participant as they walked up, including the funny nicknames they chose for the occasion.

Nicholas Droge, of the fire department, said he chose the “Joey Chestnut” moniker in honor of the competition eater who won his 14th international title when he devoured 76 hot dogs last weekend.

Though they tried, the competitors in Denham Springs didn’t get close to that mark.

For the competition, the police department sent out Mike Pozzi, Wade Sutton, Ben Payne, and Brandon Ashton to take on Axl LaCour, Droge, and Gage McTaggart of the fire department. Brenner Marks, who works at Le Chien, filled in for the firefighters to even the teams.

Each player had 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs and buns as possible.

A little after 3 p.m., the contest was officially underway, with the eight competitors stuffing their faces with hot dogs and buns. They occasionally dipped their food into cups of water nearby to make them easier to consume.

At several points, the competitors had to pause as the food worked its way through their bodies.

“This is so bad,” groaned McTaggart at one point.

After 10 long minutes, the firefighters emerged victorious, combining to eat 31 hot dogs. Marks, who had his own personal cheering section, was the top competitor after consuming 11 hot dogs.

The police officers finished with 25 hot dogs.

“That was so nasty,” Marks said, bent over. “I will never do that again.”

The competitors dished about the experience once it ended.

“That was 10 times harder than I thought it would be,” LaCour said. “As soon as I got to two, I was like, ‘Oh no.’”

Besides the hot dog eating contest, Le Chien raised funds for the Denham Springs Animal Shelter with a dunking booth, where participants paid $1 for a chance to hit a target and drop a local official in a tub of water.

Some of those who took part included Denham Springs Police Chief Shannon Womack, City Building Inspector and Floodplain Manager Rick Foster, and Father Matthew Graham, who drew the biggest crowd.

“It’s just all about having a good time,” Landry said.

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