Sandwiched between Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue in Coney Island, Nathan’s Hot Dogs has been cooking up a delicious tradition which has lasted over 100 years: The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. The competition at the hot dog eating contest has grown dramatically since its start in 1916 but when it boils down to it, these pro-eaters are still here to bring home the bacon (or the Mustard Belt, as it is cleverly named). Held on every July 4th at Nathan’s Famous Coney Island, the contest has drawn competitors and spectators from all around the world.
To be frank, the idea of eating 74 hotdogs in ten minutes may make even some of the hungriest of teenagers queasy but for Joey Chestnut it’s just another opportunity to showcase his spectacular appetite – and he’s won the competition once again this year. The 12-time Mustard Belt champion has amassed a large following of fans and has excelled in numerous eating competitions by breaking over forty eating records. This year, he ate 71 hotdogs in 10 minutes, not quite making his 74-hotdog record. He faced competition from first-time competitor Darron Breeden (50 hotdogs), and Jeffrey Esper (47) and Matthew Stonie (46).
Additionally, in the women’s competition, veteran pro-eater Miki Sudo took first place again this year, making her a sixth consecutive hot dog-eating champion by finishing off 31 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs (last year she ate 37). The current women’s world record is 45 hot dogs. In second place was Michelle Lesco with 26 hot dogs, and a tie for third between Sarah Reineke and Juliet Lee with 23 hot dogs each.
Historically, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has been a sensational hit with the American public. In 1972, the competition was televised and gained world-class recognition from viewers all around the world who developed an appetite fo competitive eating. In addition, the press from the competition’s popularity allowed competitive eating to gain main-stream acceptance and has allowed Nathan’s to have a platform to raise awareness about the needs of the Food Bank for New York City, with Nathan’s donating 100,000 hotdogs, every year.
Performances during the competition this year included a selection of rap hits by Jamaica, Queens native Eric Badlands Booker (ranked 23rd in the world by the Major League Eating organization), performances by the cast of the musical Apple Boys, Brooklyn Community Choir, a procession of the flags and states with the national anthem, and more.
Check out some additional photographs from yesterday’s event!