We have a wiener!
For the 12th time in 13 years, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut of San Jose, California, dominated the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, wolfing down 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes, just three franks short of the world record he set at last year’s competition.
Thousands of spectators gathered at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues Thursday to find out who would eat the most dogs and take home the Mustard Belt in 2019. The competition was broadcast live on ESPN.
Chestnut’s closest rival was Darron Breeden, who ate 50 franks, which, while impressive, was still 21 dogs short of Chestnut’s total.
Chestnut became the only contestant to eat 70 hot dogs in 2016, and he’s pulled off the feat every year since, eating 72 dogs in 2017, 74 in 2018 and 71 at this year’s contest.
In the women’s competition, Miki Sudo of Las Vegas, Nevada, emerged victorious for the sixth straight year, putting away 31 hot dogs in 10 minutes. In 2018, Sudo choked down 41 franks. Trailing just behind her this year was Michelle Lesco, who ate 27.
Despite the heat, the contest’s emcee George Shea heightened the drama and hyped up the crowd with soaring, patriotic rhetoric.
“For he is a bead of light floating in the dark oil of night! For he is the very vessel of our freedom, the champion of the Fourth of July, and he will fight until he is the last man standing on the dirt-covered surface of the Earth, for his cause is the cause of victory! His cause is the cause of one nation, under God, indivisible!” Shea said as he welcomed Chestnut to the stage.
Aside from the glory of victory and a stomachache, Chestnut and Sudo will each receive $20,000 in cash prizes. As in years past, Nathan’s will donate 100,000 hot dogs to local food banks.
Since 1916, the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred in Coney Island on the Fourth of July. The contest is presided over by Major League Eating, a governing body which sanctions the competitive eaters and judges, and ensures eaters’ safety.