Despite several changes, a Coney Island tradition continues.
For the first time, Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Championship didn’t take place in front of a massive crowd on the Coney Island boardwalk.
This year, it took place indoors in Williamsburg and was limited to five contestants on each side. Each contestant was separated by plexiglass to provide social distancing.
Despite the changes in environment due to COVID-19, the results were similar.
Joey “Jaws” Chestnut and Miki Sudo, the number-one-ranked male and female competitive eaters in the world, topped world records in their divisions.
In San Jose, California, Chestnut ate 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes, beating the record he set in 2018 when he ate 74. Last year, he ate 72.
“It was hard but I knew I was fast at the very beginning,” Chestnut told ESPN. “It was like blistering speed. And the dogs were cooked really well today. Minute six is where I missed the crowd because they are usually pumped up and I hit a wall and it literally took me more work to get through it. This is a crazy year and I’m happy I was able to get a record.”
He said the new environment helped him.
“I think [the hot dogs] were cooked 10 minutes ago,” he said. “That helps. Usually they’re cooking 1,000 hot dogs for all eaters. Now it’s a quarter of that. That helped a lot. Being inside helped a lot.”
This victory is Chestnut’s 13th Nathan’s Famous championship and mustard belt.
Darron Breeden came in a distant second with 42 hot dogs eaten. Nick Wehry finished third with 39.5.
In the women’s competition, Sudo won her seventh straight title, eating 48.5 hot dogs to break the women’s world record set by Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas in 2012. Her previous best was 41 in 2018.
“The camera crew was kind enough to cheer for me,” said Sudo. “I heard some competitors yell my name as well, it was really nice. To everyone watching at home, I wish you could be here but thank you for supporting us through your living rooms.”
Larell Marie Mele finished second, eating 18 hot dogs, and Katie Prettyman came in third with 15.