Beneath the playful crackle of fireworks, nestled at the intersection of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Brooklyn’s iconic Coney Island, lies a nostalgic tradition that sets our pulses racing every Independence Day – the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. This gastronomic gala has etched itself into the annals of Americana, transforming the act of hot dog consumption into a riveting spectacle.
At the heart of this lip-smacking show is Joey Chestnut, the reigning hot-dog-eating wizard who has been donning the Mustard Belt for an impressive 15 times. Since his debut in 2005, Chestnut has woven a mesmerizing spell over the competition, a winning streak only broken once in 2015. In a nutshell, he is the unchallenged master of the mustard and ketchup smothered delights.
His accomplishments are staggering, even by the standards of Major League Eating – the record for the most hot dogs eaten, the decimation of rivals in 54 diverse categories, and a gluttonous resume showcasing feats of endurance and willpower that boggles the imagination.
THEY’VE ARRIVED!🎉 Behold the stunning belts for this year's Fourth of July victorious Eaters! #roadtoconey #eatingcontest #majorleagueeating #nathansfamous #hotdogeating #julyfourth #coneyisland #mustardbelt pic.twitter.com/ZgzyOhqsqz
— Major League Eating (@eatingcontest) June 27, 2023
In the 15 years since his debut, Chestnut has gobbled an astounding 1,152 hot dogs, a number far surpassing any rival. To put it into perspective, if all the hot dogs he ate were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 648 feet, dwarfing the length of Coney Island’s famous Cyclone roller coaster.
The year 2022 saw Chestnut consume a whopping 18,270 calories in just 10 minutes, a feat that would make even the training regimen of Olympic champion Michael Phelps seem modest in comparison. His career calorie consumption from hot dogs alone approaches a jaw-dropping 335,000.
As Chestnut attempts to clinch his 16th Mustard Belt, a pantheon of determined challengers hope to dethrone the king. In this individualistic sport where every bite counts, Chestnut’s reign is indeed reminiscent of sports legends from Rafael Nadal to Kelly Slater.
Meanwhile, the world of women’s competitive eating shines brightly with Miki Sudo, the reigning champion with a record 48.5 hot dogs eaten in the 2020 event. After missing the 2021 contest, she made a triumphant comeback in 2022, and holds multiple records in other culinary categories. So this Tuesday, sit back, grab a hot dog, and enjoy as the heroes of competitive eating push their limits once again!