The biggest sporting event of the Fourth of July weekend - by a wide margin - is the annual hot dog eating contest at Coney Island.

This is, after all, National Hot Dog Month.

And here you thought the government was wasting your tax dollars with meaningless proclamations about bogus holidays - National Hot Dog Month is the essence of our nation.

As our way of contributing toward making National Hot Dog Month more meaningful, The Inquirer has posted a poll allowing you to vote on your favorite hot dog among current athletes.

Who will win is up to all of you, naturally, but here's a list of personal favorites.

Manny Ramirez, the hairy slugger who hot dogs it with the best of 'em, then stands in the box and rips a 400-foot home run.

Alex Ovechkin, the flamboyant forward who scores goals, then skates in circles, and occasionally falls to the ice in joyous celebration of his own greatness.

Tony Stewart, the abrasive NASCAR driver who spars verbally with practically everyone in the sport. Then wins championships.

Ozzie Guillen (who says a manager can't be a hot dog?), who rips his own players along with opponents and umpires.

But the all-time - all-time - greatest hot dog and personal fave remains Terrell Eldorado Owens.

Not only is the former Eagles receiver vastly talented and with a serious work ethic to match, he perfected the post-touchdown celebration and brought the NFL into the 21st century.

The picture of a young Owens, in a San Francisco 49ers uniform, standing on the midfield Dallas Cowboys star in Texas Stadium - with both hands raised over his head signaling a touchdown - was the most inventive TD celebration of all time.

And then he did it again.

In the same game.

And then we have . . . a strong contender from north of the border.

The Canadian Football League fined Toronto Argonauts receiver Arland Bruce for "excessive actions" during his tribute to Michael Jackson after scoring a touchdown.

Tribute may be the wrong word here, folks.

After scoring on a 21-yard pass that put Toronto ahead 6-0, on Wednesday night, Bruce removed his helmet, shoulder pads and jersey, and lay down in the end zone.

Bruce later said he was honoring the memory of Jackson by pretending to be buried.

The team said it supported the league's ruling and noted that Bruce had apologized at a team meeting yesterday.

Toronto coach Bart Andrus said, "Next time around, he will celebrate in an appropriate manner."

Andrus must not have noticed the backhoe sitting ready in the end zone.

Contact staff writer Don McKee at 215-854-4611 or
This article contains information from the Associated Press.