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Hot Dogs and The 4th of July: A Match Made In America

Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo fight for their Mustard Belts in this years Nathon’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

{Nathan's, Day Shot, Coney Island (History, Part 1 of 2) by Tony Fischer is licensed under CC BY 2.0}

Hot Dogs and The 4th of July: A Match Made In America


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

There is nothing like sitting down on the 4th of July to watch people eat an alarming amount of hot dogs and buns in ten minutes. It’s the most American tradition we have. I watch it every year, and I was even in attendance last year to watch one of America’s greatest athletes, Joey Chestnut, absolutely dominate the competition.  My guy ate 71 hot dogs and buns with no “reversal of fortune“, as the professionals call it.  Joey is still ranked as the number 1 eater in the world,  so get ready to see him get his 13th Mustard Belt.

Due to COVID-19, the contest will not be held outside of Nathan’s on Coney Island.  Instead, it will be in an area with less contestants and no fans.  The Men’s competition will reduce its size to only 6 competitors.  The Women’s competition that kicks off just before, will also take place in the same arena and will feature Miki Sudo fighting for her 7th Mustard Belt.

If you’ve never tuned in before I highly recommend it just for Richard Shea’s theatrics. Shea is the president of Major League Eating and makes sure there is never a dull moment. Coming up with the most extreme back stories to every eater will always be a highlight of the event. It’s no secret that eating contests are absurd, so why not just feed into that absurdity?

Major League Eating?

Surprisingly, there are many eating competitions year-round all leading up to the leagues most televised event, The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. The list of records go on and on. You can see here that there is no shortage of food that can been eaten quickly. My favorite stand outs are:

  • 7 quarter-pound sticks, salted butter in 5 minutes
  • 47 Dozen Acme Oysters/ Acme Oyster House in 8 Minutes
  • 4 32-ounce bowls mayonnaise in 8 minutes
  • 34 large cannoli/San Gennaro Festival in 6 minutes (as an Italian-American I would like to try this)
  • 3 pounds Haggis in 8 Minutes
  • 2.89 lbs pigs’ feet meat/State Fair Meadowlands in 10 minutes

There is plenty more to that list. Can you imagine the heart burn? My body could never.

ESPN did a Sports Science years ago and demonstrated on how during the Hot Dog Eating Contest the contestants bodies go from basically 0-9 months pregnant in 10 minutes. That just hurts to think about.

Training To Eat Hot Dogs?

Yes, these eaters train rigorously. Joey Chestnut’s training regiment was highlighted in ESPN’s 30 for 30 “The Good, The Bad, and The Hungry.”

So yeah, very unorthodox training for something that doesn’t really have a lot written on it. Something in this training is working for Joey, because if you can shove 74 hot dogs and buns down your throat, you’re doing something right.

Are We Gambling?

Well, for the first time NJ sport books are holding odds for the contest. DraftKings is the official sponsor for the Hot Dog Eating Contest. As of writing this the odds are:

  • Men’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2020 winner: Joey Chestnut (-1000) vs. the field (+550)
  • Hot dogs eaten by Joey Chestnut: Over 72.5 (-182), Under 72.5 (+140)
  • Hot dogs eaten by Joey Chestnut: Over 74.5 (+125), Under 74.5 (-162)
  • Women’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2020 winner: Miki Sudo (-835) vs. the field (+500)
  • Hot dogs eaten by Miki Sudo: Over 40.5 (-162), Under 40.5 (+125)

Joey is clearly a heavy favorite with a good chance to break his world record of 74 hot dogs and buns set back in 2018. I’m going to hit the overs on both the men’s and women’s, because who doesn’t want to witness history?

Coverage starts at 12pm on ESPN with the Women’s starting around 12:20 and the Men’s starting at 12:40.

Lighting Designer by day, sports fan the rest of the time. New York City is the best city on Earth. Getting mad over the Yankees, Giants, Knicks, and Rangers occupies most of my time. Bowling and Golf are the only sports I can play. Joey Chestnut is America's greatest athlete.

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