On July 4 my family headed to Skagway for the Independence Day celebration.

Since I was about to write a piece for the WUY Hot Dog Issue, I thought, “What a great way to sample the Americana hot dog culture and stuff myself with delicious mystery meat.”

We arrived just in time to catch the parade. It was small, but jovial. We then hit the street fair, making our way past the basketball toss, Scottish pipers, and the racing kids. The air was filled with awesome smells of fresh bread and fried onions, and even though it was only 10:30 a.m., my mind was screaming for a juicy American-sized dog.

Sugar Mama’s, who has a store on Fifth and one on Main, was the fi rst booth ready for wiener business. The dogs served were plump and juicy. We bought one, sat on some grass, and shared it with my daughter, Emily. I wanted to ask the server where they got their meat, but sometimes ignorance is best when eating street food.

Maybe it was the celebration or that I purposely had a small breakfast, but that hot dog slipped down my throat like a delicious Yukon beer on a smoking hot day.

I now had the bloodlust for all things wiener, and was wondering where that mammoth American foot-long was. Unfortunately there seemed to be no super-sized corn dog around. We made our way into the mini Skagway Bazaar where I found a little place called The BBQ Shack, which had reindeer dogs on the menu. A reindeer dog is common in the Yukon, but this one was going at a special rate of $1.95.

Always looking for a deal, I anted up.

This dog was equally large and tasty. I ate it alone, and as the sun beamed down on me, I started sweating in that weird way your body sweats when you’re overheating and stuffed to the top. Meat sweats.

It took two large hot dogs to fill me up and it was only 11:00 a.m.

Suddenly, all I saw were hot dogs; brats from the fire department, large wieners from the Red Onion Saloon, bison dogs from The Sippin’ Sasquatch. Cruise shippers were chowing down left and right.

Then I found the ultimate cherry on my wiener sundae. I witnessed a hot dog eating competition, and that’s how I envision Fourth of July.

The competitors were fierce and determined, especially one girl who went by the name Prize Pony. I watched her stuff dogs in her mouth like there was no tomorrow, dipping them in ranch dressing and water for ten whole minutes. I got heartburn just watching.

Finally after 11 downed dogs, Prize Pony avoided the twominute throw up rule and won the competition. As I left Skagway, I knew in my heart that next year I should — nay, I must — be in that competition.

It is my hot dog destiny.