San Jose is home to two of the nation's most decorated competitive eaters, and the two went stomach to stomach once again at Coney Island's annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest, with Joey Chestnut reclaiming the title this year from last year's upset champion Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie. Chestnut pounded down 70 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes this year, besting his own last highest total of 69 dogs in the 2013 competition though not topping a new world record that he set, at a qualifying event, of 73 1/2 dogs, as the AP reports.
The competition happens at the original Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, and the 32-year-old Chestnut had a streak of eight straight victories until 2015 when Stonie managed to beat him. Telling the press that Stonie "woke up the sleeping giant" inside him, Chestnut returned this year to test the limits of his own esophagus, jaws, and gag reflex, powering down seven hot dogs a minute. Stonie only managed to eat 53 dogs this year.
I have no idea how San Jose managed to breed so many professional tubesteak swallowers, but I'll refrain from making a sophomoric joke about it. (Too late.)
Meanwhile in the women's competition, defending champion Miki Sudo of Las Vegas finished off 38 1/2 hot dogs in 10 minutes, while prior champ prior Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas, of Virginia, only managed to eat 34.
Both Chestnut and Sudo take home $10,000 prizes on Monday, and bragging rights.
Ben Yakas covered the whole show over on Gothamist, noting, "This year, we have been blessed with the world's oldest participant (a 72-year-old who is also the 'Spam-eating champion of the world'), a rap performance by Eric 'Badlands' Booker (the world glazed donut eating champion), and a competitor who once ate 42 DOZEN oysters in 8 minutes."
God bless America, indeed.
What's hilarious, though, is how seriously the ESPN commentators take the competition, and you can watch their coverage of it here. (It actually aired on tape-delay, and was pre-empted by Wimbledon.)