Updated February 28, 4:05 PM CT
Chestnut wins again!
What: Annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Where: The corner of Surf & Stillwell, Coney Island, NY
When: July 4th
TV: ESPN2, 12:00 PM ET
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut extended his reign as champion eater at the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest Wednesday, downing a record 74 dogs and buns in 10 minutes to take home the coveted Mustard Belt for an 11th time. Miki Sudo held onto her title as the top woman's competitor at the annual Brooklyn eat-off.
Sudo devoured 37 franks and buns to take home the top prize for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.
"I found a vicious rhythm," the 34-year-old Chestnut said after the stuffing session. "I was feeling good today."
The judges originally counted 64 hot dogs for Chestnut, but it was later revealed that an entire plate wasn't counted. Chestnut would have won regardless.
Chestnut, who ate a then-record 72 dogs last summer, fended off 20 others at New York's Coney Island boardwalk for the annual Independence Day competition. Carmen Cincotti came in second but wasn't close to stealing the mustard belt from Chestnut, who is ranked No. 1 in the world by Major League Eating.
Chestnut was a favorite in sports-betting circles to win another belt. Bookmakers told ESPN that more than $1 million was bet on the annual eating contest across the offshore sportsbook industry.
FREEDOM TO STUFF
Annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest
Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set the world record last year, swallowing a staggering 72 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes.
Every year, Nathan’s Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest draws nearly 25,000 people to Coney Island, N.Y.
Over a million viewers tune in to ESPN2’s live coverage, to watch 20 competitors eat as many hot dogs as they can in 10 minutes.
George Shea—the colorful Carney Master/Master of Ceremonies— introduces the competitors 'Bruce Baffert UFC style.'
At the 2014 Nathan’s contest, he introduced one of the competitors saying: “His mother held him close and whispered in his ear. She said you are of mine flesh but you are not mine own. Fate is your father and you belong to the people.”
In 2015 he delivered the classic:“In a world of nothing. Of barren hills and cracked earth and once-proud oceans drained to sand, there will still be a monument to our existence. Bleached by the sun, perhaps, and blunted by time, but everlasting. Because this man represents all that is eternal in the human experience. … Through the curtain of the aurora, a comet blazes to herald his arrival, and his victory shall be transcribed into every language known to history, including Klingon. The Bratwurst, and Pierogi, and Hooters Chicken Wing eating champion of the world, eight-time Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating champion of the world, the no. 1 eater in the world, I give you America itself, Joey Chestnut.”
Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas is the women’s record-holder. Her record is 45 buns and franks, but last year she only managed 30.
Miki Sudo stole the women's competition from The Black Widow last year, downing an impressive 41 franks and buns. She’s back this year seeking her fifth women’s title.
Vomiting during the competition will end in disqualification (if the regurgitation touches the table or their plate), and eaters can also be penalized for messy eating. But after the competition ends, eaters can relieve themselves however they like.
If the competition did come down to a tie, the winner would be decided through a five-dog eat off. If that doesn’t find a winner, a one-hot dog round of sudden death is called.
There’s big money in the big hot dog scramble. Whoever scoffs the most dogs and buns within ten minutes stands to win a portion of a total prize purse of $40,000.
The Mustard Yellow Belt
Is the organization's signature championship belt.
The belt is renowned in the competitive eating world. It was held by Takeru Kobayashi from 2001 to 2006, but Kobayashi was beaten by Joey Chestnut in 2007 and held the Championship Belt for eight years until Matthew Stonie (Eater YouTuber) beat him at the July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2015. Chestnut, however, reclaimed the title in 2016 when he ate 70 hot dogs.
Odds to win
Defending Champion, Joey Chestnut
Yes, there is a governing body. The competition is overseen by an international governing body called Major League Eating.
Shea, also the co-founder of competitive eating’s Major League Eating (formerly known as the International Federation of Competitive Eating), took over the Coney Island event in 1991 as a press agent a few years out of college.
It puts on about 80 events per year and works closely with professional eaters.
This is from their website - Majorleagueeating.com:
Major League Eating is the world body that oversees all professional eating contests. The organization, which developed competitive eating and includes the sport's governing body, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, helps sponsors to develop, publicize and execute world-class eating events in all varieties of food disciplines.
MLE-sanctioned eating contests provide dramatic audience entertainment and offer an unparalleled platform for media exposure. The world's top competitive eating stars -- such as Joey Chestnut, Sonya Thomas, Patrick Bertoletti, Eater X Tim and Bob Shoudt -- are all Major League Eaters.
MLE conducts approximately 80 events annually, including the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Past event and broadcast sponsors include Procter & Gamble (Pepto-Bismol), Pizza Hut, Krystal Hamburgers, Heinz Ketchup, Old Navy, Netflix, Coca-Cola, 7-Eleven, ESPN, Jimmy John's, La Costena, Harrah's Entertainment, Isle of Capri Casinos, Cedar Fair Entertainment, Johnsonville Sausage and Roy Rogers.
MLE promotions generate more than a billion consumer impressions worldwide each year. The Nathan's Famous contest alone has generated more than 300 million consumer impressions on domestic television in the period of several weeks. Major League Eating has produced dozens of hours of original programming for SpikeTV, ESPN, Fox, and Bio. The ESPN broadcast of the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest has generated a higher rating than any Major League Baseball telecast on July 4 in the United States.
MLE maintains offices at 18 East 41st Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY (212) 352-8651. For information about sponsorship, media or event development, contact George Shea, Richard Shea or David Baer.
Ran DeBord ~ All Access Sporting News
Sources for this article include: majorlleagueeating.com,nathans.com, time.com, AP, Twitter, AASNSports
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