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CALL IT A JUICY SCANDAL Frankly speaking, Charles Hardy thinks he was cheated in last weekend's annual eating contest at New York's Coney Island sponsored by Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs chain. Hardy and another competitor tied for second, consuming 20 in 12 minutes - to 20-1/4 for the champion, Steve Keiner of Atlantic City, N.J. But a videotape showed Keiner with a wiener already partly in his mouth before the opening gun sounded. The rules don't provide for instant replays, however, and Hardy's demand for a rematch will not be granted, a Nathan's spokesman said. Keiner had no comment except to say he wanted victory "so bad I could taste it."

WURST CASE SCENARIO Then there's Bernhard Ossner, a butcher in Kumhausen, Germany, who - with 14 helpers - stuffed what he claims is the world's longest bratwurst: 3.65 miles. It was cut into thousands of pieces, roasted, and sold for charity. Yes, the Guinness Book of World Records has been notified.

'Wild West' enjoys bonanza at weekend movie box office The four-day Fourth of July weekend was golden for filmdom. Overall, box-office grosses were up about 16 percent from the same holiday weekend last year, when "Armageddon" was the No. 1 movie. This year, the critically panned "Wild Wild West" won the money derby with a $36.4 million opening. "Big Daddy" with Adam Sandler was No. 2 with a $26.8 million take in its second weekend. Estimated grosses July 2-5 at North American theaters (in millions):

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1. "Wild Wild West" $36.4

2. "Big Daddy" 26.8

3. "Tarzan" 19.3

4. "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" 14.8

5. "The General's Daughter" 14.2

6. "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" 13.3

7. "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" 12.1

8. "Summer of Sam" 8.0

9. "Notting Hill" 5.5

10. "An Ideal Husband" 3.6

- Exhibitor Relations Inc./AP

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