Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is a Fourth of July tradition and spectacle

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is a Fourth of July tradition and spectacle

For most of America, the Fourth of July evokes thoughts of fireworks, family, and a cookout. But hours before any of these things start in earnest, many Americans will turn their attention to a curious spectacle that has become another holiday tradition: the famous Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.

Every year on Independence Day, thousands of spectators, braving the heat and the effects of inexplicable enthusiasm, descend on an intersection in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn to watch the elite corps of rival eaters consume as many hot dogs as they can in 10 minutes. .

The definition of “humanely possible” has one meaning for most meat-eating nations; It has something else for most contestants. This is especially true of the defending champions, Joey Chestnut and Mikey Sudo, who are back to defend their titles and perhaps expand the idea of ​​what is humanly possible.

Mr. Chestnut holds the men’s world record of 76 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes in 2021, while Ms. Sudoo holds the women’s world record of 48.5 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes. Both of them were betting overwhelmingly to win.

The women’s competition started first, and Ms. Sudou won, eating 39.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes, six more than her closest competitor, Mayui Ebihara.

Mr. Chestnut, also known as Jaws, won the men’s competition for the 15th time last year by eating 63 hot dogs. Mrs. Sudou wins for the eighth time by eating 40 hot dogs.

The Nathan’s Pageant, which is divided into separate events for men and women, has been held every year since 1916. Its modern incarnation gets a super dose of puns and patriotism from George Shea, who oversees the event with his brother, Rich Shea.

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Over the years, Sheas has gently coerced mayors, including Rudolph W. (After he delivered one such groan in 2012, Mr. Bloomberg notice out loud, “Who wrote this [expletive]? “)

They’ve expanded the Coney Island event into a national competitive eating scene run by Major League Eating, a group that describes itself as “the governing body for all stomach-centric sports.” The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.

For those who might be curious, scientists (scientists!) have determined that the human body is capable of eating — at most — 83 hot dogs in 10 minutes, according to a study published in 2020 that was based on 39 years. of data from the competition.

According to that paper, the best human-eaters in the world can even outpace a grizzly bear in terms of the amount of food eaten per unit of time.

Bears can eat about eight hot dogs per minute, and Mr. Chestnut can eat about 7.5 hot dogs per minute. But bears usually peck for about six minutes, while Mr. Chestnut can dunk sausages for 10 minutes straight.

“Most top eaters use a pretty similar technique: we separate the meat from the bun,” said Mr Chestnut. in an online video Describing his tournament style. “If you have to eat it quickly, you have to dip the cake in water.”

He said he began training for the competition each year at the end of April, with a series of training competitions followed by fasting periods. He also eats outside on hot days.

He said he managed to eat more than 80 hot dogs in 10 minutes on five separate occasions during training, but was unable to replicate the feat in competition.

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“A lot of it is psychological and mental,” He said. “Your body is telling you that you are full.”

Mr. Chestnut is also what, in other contexts, might be called a multiple hyphen. In addition to his hot dog skills, he holds the world records for speedy consumption of a Big Mac (32 in 38 minutes), tacos (82 in eight minutes) and funnel cake (5.9 pounds of it in 10 minutes).

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