There are three ways I know of to approach hot dog eating contests.

1) Standard tactic- Skip a meal or two and just eat as many of them as you can. Try to stay away from water, as it'll fill you up faster, but you'll probably need some close to the end anyway. Most hot dogs have a notoriously high sodium content, and plus the water will help you swallow when you're really full.

2) Dunk tactic- I never really understood this one, but I've seen it used before. They dunk the hot dog in water before eating it. I'm guessing the water will lubricate the hot dog and help it to go down. But I've always thought the extra water would, as stated above, fill you up faster.

3) Japanese tactics- This way was first popularized by the Japanese, who won a few contests this way despite being smaller than their American competitors. They would separate the meat part of the hot dog from the bun. Then they would eat the meat and then smash the bun into a tiny wad and eat that separately. This technique seems smart because it would eliminate most of the air that is trapped in the bread. Considering that a hot dog bun can be smashed into something quite small, it seems like this technique would free up a lot of volume in the stomach.