Crowbar's Tom DeGeorge dishes on why the bun might be over at his Ybor City hot dog party

The Final Footlong (?) goes down on July 3.

click to enlarge BUNNY GUY: Crowbar's Tom DeGeorge has been cryptic about his Ybor City hot dog party's future. - Michael M. Sinclair
Michael M. Sinclair
BUNNY GUY: Crowbar's Tom DeGeorge has been cryptic about his Ybor City hot dog party's future.

For more than a decade, Crowbar’s Hot Dog Party has offered Bay area music scene diehards a pre-Fourth of July party where it’s acceptable to come completely unhinged as contestants compete in the show’s disgustingly glorious hot dog-eating showcase.

The show is organized by Crowbar GM Tom DeGeorge, promoter Joe D’Acunto and scene staple Matt E. Lee — a group called the “Buntrust” — but the throwdown hasn’t been without controversy. Still, the famously bullheaded DeGeorge, 44, wouldn’t change a thing, and says that the only way Hot Dog Party has changed him is in appearance alone.

Tres Bien bassist downs 16 wieners for the win at Hot Dog Show

“We’ve all gained weight. I think that’s about it, but it’s no regrets,” he told CL when asked about Hot Dog Party’s changes and its less savory moments, like the years when professional eaters started mixing into a field that’s been traditionally all amateurs. DeGeorge says the pros started coming when the winner’s belt — something out of a meatstick-sponsored wrestling league — started getting bigger and bigger.

In 2017, Dale Boone, a former International Federation of Competitive Eating Rookie of the Year, took home the prize.

“I didn’t wanna let them in. I got outvoted. I was right as usual.”

Crowbar’s seventh annual hot dog eating competition crowns a two-time champion.

It’ll be back to all-amateurs in 2018 — and this year’s event comes packaged along with a show lineup that includes a cat rapper (Purr Purr Purr), a long-haired metal band (Beerwolf), a pagan showman (Achilles the Conqueror), an in-your-face electro-pop trio (Reality Asylum), ukulele-pop (Bendy Straw) and more — but Hot Dog Party fans will be examining the Buntrust under a microscope after the last drink is poured. DeGeorge says that his love for the party will always burn and boil like the grills and pots of water that cook the celebratory wieners, but it’s hard to ignore the poster where the July 3 party is being billed as “The Final Footlong?”

DeGeorge, predictably, deflects questions about how this year is different.

“What comes after this year? July 4,that’s what. This party will be just like the others. I’ll be a grumpy asshole running around until the competition starts and I know we’ve pulled it off. It’ll be a great day in the end. Lots of hugs,” he said. “Twelve is a great number. Everything runs its course, but at the same time it’s the ‘Final Footlong?’ with a question mark, not an exclamation point — you can never say never in the hot dog business.”

For now, DeGeorge suggests remembering what the party is all about: America, and not the one everyone is arguing about in TV land either.

“Nothing else will matter and it will be beautiful,” he said about the party where all open-minded people — including vegetarians — are welcome. “On this day we’ll all be proud to be Americans. Inside the four walls of Crowbar it will be our America.” 

Hot Dog Party XII: The Final Footlong? w/Achilles the Conqueror/Beerwolf/Bendy Straw/Reality Asylum/The Porch Sessions/Purr Purr Purr/Fat Jim Morrison/DJ Wally Clark. Tues. July 3, 7 p.m. $10.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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