Ebenezer Grill's hot dog-eating champ Dale Corzine had one goal Friday: retaining his title.
Corzine planned to down 20 hot dogs during Ebenezer Grill's third annual hot dog eating contest. So did challenger Alfred Baker.
"Good luck," Corzine of Rock Hill said.
"We'll see," Baker of Rock Hill quipped.
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"It's for charity," Corzine's wife, Melissa, reminded the competitors, who along with others raised $928 for the York County Cancer Association, a nonprofit agency that helps local people wth cancer-related expenses.
"There's no charity here," Baker said moments before the men shook hands and took their places behind a table with six other men.
Then, the 10-minute hot dog eat-all began as more than 50 onlookers cheered for their favorites.
"Eat that weenie," a lone male voice bellowed. "Eat that weenie."
Corzine polished off two hot dogs quickly.
"Go daddy," said Corzine's son, Hunter. "Go, daddy."
Corzine started his second tray of five dogs with Baker fast on his tracks. Meanwhile, competitor Joey Hodge of Rock Hill cleared his first set of five dogs.
"Come on Double O Weenie," someone from Hodge's camp called out.
"Eat two weenies," Hodge's wife, Jennifer, called out. "Pick 'em up."
Five minutes into the feast, everyone had cleared at least one tray. Hunter Corzine cheered for his father, who was on his third tray.
With two minutes left, Corzine had two buns and a hotdog with a bun left.-
"Put it in your mouth and chew it," Hunter ordered.
Someone called time, and Corzine emerged as champion after downing 14 1/2 hot dogs.
"I don't know if I'll ever get 20," Corzine said. "That's a lot of hot dogs."
Shane Canup, who put away 1 11/2 hot dogs, shared his technique.
"I ate the hot dogs first and then switched to the buns," said Canup of Rock Hill. "I got the hot dogs down pretty quick, but the buns were harder."
Joey Hodge put away 10 hot dogs, a feat for a first timer, he said.
"It was rough," said Hodge, who will try to out-eat Corzine next year.
A series of parades stole the show in York County on Friday as residents celebrated Independence Day. Here's a look at how locals in three communities celebrated the Fourth of July.
Country Club Estates parade steeped in tradition
Reid and Charmaine Carpenter sat in a pony-drawn carriage. Leila Hicklin, dressed as Lady Liberty, sat perched atop a red convertible.
Then fire truck sirens signaled the start of the annual Country Club Estates neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
The carriage and two horses clunked by. A tractor carting precious cargo -- a red-headed toddler -- was next. Two fire trucks, a lone bicycle rider, a fleet of older model cars and a golf cart rounded out the parade.
The celebration is a tradition for the community, event organizer Bill Vogel said.
"We don't want to break tradition," he said.
"I can't miss the Fourth of July parade," she said. "I've been in this parade as long as I can remember."
Beckie Saupe of Fort Mill came with sons Andrew Bontekoe, 2 1/2, and Michael Bontekoe, 5.
"It's important for my kids to know why we celebrate Independence Day," Saupe said. "The Fourth of July is a way for us to celebrate our independence."
The boys and their 11-year-old neighbor, Chasity Barber, liked one thing better than the candy at the parade.
"The horses," Michael said.
Saupe plans to ride along in next year's parade with others including Reid and Charmaine Carpenter.
"We do it every year just for fun," Charmaine Carpenter said. "We love it."
Meanwhile, across the street ...
Across the street at the Quail Run neighborhood, 2-year-old Casey Bigham was perched atop a fire truck. Steps away Brandon Badinski, 6, and Megan Badinski, 5, got ready for their fire truck trip around the neighborhood.
Then, the parade of golf carts, lawn mowers, bicycles and six fire trucks from the Oakdale Fire Department fleet took off with a series of sirens.
"The parade is a good way to teach our kids to be thankful for their freedom," Heather Rogers said from her a golf cart with husband Rob and children, Hailey, 4, and Landon, 2. "Some kids aren't able to do things like this."
Rogers' nieces and nephews were among several children who threw candy and waved to onlookers as proud parents videotaped the moment.
"This is the stuff traditions are made of," Laura Badinski said after she waved off Megan and Brandon Badinski.
The entourage lapped the community twice. It was the day Casey had been waiting for, Lori and Eric Bigham said.
"She was asleep this morning, and I whispered in her ear, 'You ready to go to the parade?'" Eric Bigham recalled. "She sat straight up in the bed and asked, 'It's time?'"
Lori Bigham added, "She's loving it. She's been so excited all week. She kept asking, 'Is the parade today?' "
"It's a special occasion," she said. "Patriotism is more important now than ever."
Highlighting patriotism since 1977
A short drive away, friends and family spilled into a street just off Charlotte Avenue for the annual Johnsonville community parade that was born out of boredom in 1977 by the late Big John and Carolyn Johnson.
"It started with banging pots and pans around the neighborhood," co-organizer Laura Fuller said moments before the parade got under way. "My brother and his friends were bored because school was out and they had nothing to do. So my daddy said, 'Let's have a parade.'"
On Friday, parade-goers, including Lisa and Steve Knight, had that same festive spirit.
"This is a special day that we celebrate our freedom," Lisa Knight said. "My husband is a soldier serving in the National Guard. He's been in Iraq for 14 months. This (Independence Day celebration) is important to our family."
Moments later, cars, trucks and bikes took to the street. So did families, some with beloved dogs.
"It's about small communities all over America," Steve Knight said. "It's about freedom."
The newly crowned Johnsonville queen, Ann Louise Kellett, rode atop a cherry red convertible.
Co-organizer Mike Fuller smiled at the passing parade.
"I do it for the children," Fuller said. "That's what it's all about. It's a tradition I hope will never die."
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