Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest still has fans hungry for more

Joey Chestnut, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Joey Chestnut, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images) /

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn has continued to be a staple event for the Fourth of July and shows no signs of ending.

Professional eaters from around the world annually battle for the right to challenge for the infamous mustard belt in Coney Island Brooklyn. The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was first held back on July 4, 1916, and since then has served as the “Super Bowl” of competitive eating as it draws thousands in attendance and millions around the world watching on television.

The defending champion heading into today’s contest is Miki Sudo from the women’s division who ate 37 hot dogs last year and 11-time winner Joey Chestnut of the men’s side who ate a record 74 hot dogs last year.  Chestnut has been a massive draw for the competition dating back to his dethroning of former perennial champ Takeru Kobayashi in 2007.

This year’s competitors had a special weigh-in inside the Empire State Building, introducing everyone participating especially the defending champions. Empire Writes Back was on hand for the event and heard from Chestnut speaking with a scrum of reporters about his plans for the event including dealing with the summer heat.

"“If it’s hot and I worry about it, it’s not gonna help me, I might as well look at the positive if it’s warm at least the hot dogs aren’t getting cold. It’s hot for everybody, everybody is suffering” Chestnut even admitted to using ice while in the heat. “I put ice down my back and I’ve learned to drink a little bit more water. I remember the only times I get sick is if I get dehydrated and your body can’t digest the food, so I make sure I keep drinking liquids throughout the day. I just pay attention to my body and make my body work for me”."

Chestnut would also go on to make a quick comment about his possible competition during this year’s contest. The Fulton County, Kentucky native, spoke candidly saying

"“There are some serious eaters but I don’t think they’re that hungry”"

The hot dog eating legend was recently documented in the latest ESPN 30 For 30 “The Good, The Bad, The Hungry” focusing on his tremendous annual battles with Kobayashi. The event has also been the topic of discussion regarding betting as New Jersey has banned wagers on the contest.

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The New York Mets welcomed Chestnut over the weekend to throw out the first pitch and give All-Star Jeff McNeil hot dog eating training tips. Hopefully, for all Mets fans sake the training doesn’t throw off his fantastic play during the first half of the season.