Joey Chestnut is once again the King of Coney Island, and earned the crown by once again eating more hot dogs than thought humanly possible.
Chestnut scarfed down a new world record 76 franks and buns in 10 minutes on Sunday, surpassing his previous high (and previous record) by one dog to win his sixth straight and 14th career mustard-yellow belt as the champion of Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The event was held at Coney Island’s Maimonides Park this year, moving down the street from the usual location at Surf & Stillwell – home of the original Nathan’s – to allow fans to return but maintain social distancing protocols.
And, even though it was in its third location in three years, the early afternoon as usual belonged to Chestnut, who has been the face (mouth?) of the sport for over a decade. The 37-year-old got off to a quick lead and never looked back, finishing with his 52nd total world record for competitive eating and establishing the hot dog eating record for the ninth time – the previous one of which came just last year, when he ate 75 on July 4, 2020.
Jeffrey Esper, who is ranked No. 2 behind Chestnut by Major League Eating, finished second with 50, and Nick Wehry placed third with 44. Wehry was looking to follow in the digestive tract of fiancé Miki Sudo, who won seven straight women’s events from 2014-20 but opted out of this year’s contest due to her pregnancy.
Chestnut has now won six Nathan’s belts in a row and 14 of the last 15, the only blemish in that time a loss in 2015 to Matt Stonie, who ate 62 dogs to Chestnut’s 60 that July 4 after finishing second two years in a row.
Chestnut had won eight in a row prior to that loss, taking over the mantle in 2007 from six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi – who himself had won six in a row from 2001-06.
Over 17 Nathan’s events, Chestnut has never finished outside the top 3, as his 14 wins have been supplemented by second-place finishes in 2015 and 2006 and a third-place finish in his first event in 2005.
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