Some people enjoy collecting stamps or assembling model trains.
Derek “The Wolf” Jacobs’ hobby is eating as much as he can in a race to beat the clock.
>> PHOTOS: 2018 Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest
For the second consecutive year, the Vandalia resident’s eating skills were put to the test at the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest held July 4 at New York's Coney Island.
Jacobs said the 27 hot dogs he chowed down to place 12th out of 21 in the competition sounds like a lot until you consider that world-record-holding hot dog champ Joey "Jaws" Chestnut chomped down 74 in 10 minutes to win the whole thing for the 11th time.
In the women’s division, Miki Sudo creamed a field of 19 — multiple world-record-holder Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas included — by eating 37 hot dogs.
Jacobs is happy with 27.
“It’s not bad considering all the best competitive eaters in the world were there,” the 35-year-old father of two said.
At last year’s competition, he put away 23 at the contest many consider the Superbowl of competitive eating.
THE FAT-AND-SKINNY OF IT ALL
It is also pretty impressive when you consider the fact that Jacobs has only been in the eating-for-competition game a short time.
He started entering food challenges at restaurants two and half years ago, winning T-shirts, bragging rights and/or gift cards for taking down ginormous pizzas, super big burgers and other culinary monstrosities.
“I am trying to get a win in every state,” said Jacobs, who often travels for his job as structural engineering manager at ADF Engineering, Inc. in Miamisburg.
So far he’s taken on 93 challenges in 24 states.
Jacobs’ first challenge was a 4-pound Fat-n-Skinny breakfast at KJ’s restaurant, 35 W. Center St. in Germantown.
His 2017 win at Great American Ballpark qualified him for that year’s Nathan’s hot dog eating contest and marked his entry into the world of competitive eating.
UP AND AT ‘EM
Now a member of MLE, Major League Eating, Jacobs qualified for this year’s Nathan’s contest in Cincinnati as well.
Jacobs’ practice regimen includes stretching his stomach by eating seven to nine pounds of watermelon, lettuce and other low-calorie foods.
“You go hard and try to get it all in,” he told this news organization. He noted that it takes practically no time to rebound.
After the Nathan’s contest, Jacobs said he took a little nap and was back up and at 'em.
He donated the $1,400 in prize money he won last year to a food bank in Vandalia and the Ronald McDonald House.
Jacobs said that some people get upset and criticize competitive eaters for putting so much away when people are starving.
Gluttony is not the objective, he said.
“The one little contest is not going to impact hunger,” Jacobs added. “I know a lot of guys that donate to food banks.
He said it is a fun and challenging hobby.
“It is a good time. The other eaters are great, and we hang out afterwards,” he said.
THE FINAL COURSE: BROCCOLI AND CHICKEN
Competitive eaters are also not what people expect.
“Everyone assumes competitive eaters are these huge people,” Jacobs said.
Now 6’5’’ and 200 pounds, Jacobs said he’s dropped 40 to 50 pounds since getting serious about his health between 2014 and 2015.
“I’ve always ate quite a bit, but not nearly this level,” he said. “That comes with some practice.”
Jacob and his wife, China, compete in obstacle course races. He is into weightlifting and does a little martial arts. Jacobs said many of his opponents are personal trainers and marathon runners.
To be clear, Jacobs does not eat 27 hot dogs in one sitting on a regular basis.
“It is generally broccoli and chicken (that I am eating),” he said.