And the wiener is… Joey Chestnut!
The defending champ made it a three-peat Saturday at the 94th annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island after choking down a stomach-churning 68 franks in 10 minutes – a new world record.
Joey Chestnut chomped down a record 68 hot dogs, capturing his third straight July Fourth hot-dog eating contest at Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., hoisted the American flag and then stood proudly like an Olympic athlete as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played following his 68 to 64½ dog victory over his archrival, six-time titleholder Takeru Kobayashi.
“This is great,” Chestnut told ESPN, which broadcast the 10-minute contest live. “After the second minute, I knew that my body was cooperating and it was going to be hard to beat me.” The 25-year-old, 218 pound champ maintained a comfortable two-dog lead over his archrival, six-time titleholder Kobayashi, for most of the bout and downed 23 dogs two minutes after the clock started. He’ll take home $20,000 in prize money and the coveted Mustard Belt.
With a minute to go, Chestnut led 63 dogs to 61 dogs and was ahead 66 to 64 with 10 seconds left. “I knew I had the capacity for 70-plus hot dogs. Once I realized I had cushion, it helped me keep my pace and keep it safely,” he told ESPN. He noted that no matter how high the dog-eating record goes, Kobayashi is at his side. “Kobayashi came out wanting to win. He ate the most he ever has,” he said.
His lead was a contrast to 2005, when Kobayashi trounced Chestnut 49 dogs to 32 dogs. And the number of dogs consumed showed how far the contest has come since the first one in 1916, when 13 dogs were enough to win. Even by 2000, 25 dogs secured victory.
Showboating for the cameras prior to the contest, 19 contestants were introduced individually with the kind of fanfare normally reserved for the start of a professional sports championship. Kobayashi was wearing a T-shirt that included autographs from Japanese Olympic athletes.
Last year’s contest ended in a tie with Chestnut and Kobayashi both gobbling down 59 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. A dramatic five-dog eat-off ensued with Chestnut emerging victorious.