Who says there isn’t anything happening in sports right now?
Sure, the NBA and NHL finals are behind us and there’s a long wait until the NFL kicks off again, but the greatest sporting event of the year is right at our doorstep.
Of course, I’m talking about the Fourth of July hot dog slogfest. Or, as the suits call it, Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Every Independence day, the greatest competitive eaters of our time take to Coney Island to showcase, live on ESPN, just how many hot dogs they can shove down their pie holes.
This is American Exceptionalism at it’s finest, folks. The Romans had their empire; the Egyptians their pyramids; and now, Americans have Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Let’s get to the odds!
Last year, Joey Chestnut picked up his first hot dog, dipped it in water, and rammed that soggy weiner down his throat. He proceeded to repeat the act 69 times in the span of ten minutes. The result: 70 hot dogs consumed and a championship won.
Naturally, Chestnut opens as the favorite for this year. The man has won every Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest since 2007 except for one. He’s a giant of the sport and currently holds the world record for hot dogs consumed (73).
Standing in the way of total domination is the young Matt Stonie. The 25-year-old dethroned the eight-time defending champion in 2015 but returned the title back to Chestnut last year. He’s the Mozart of competitive eating. Just take a look at some of his world records: 182 bacon slices in 5 minutes, 241 chicken wings in 10 minutes, 25 Big Macs in 22 minutes.
Conor McGregor said it best: “In the Jungle, when a king gets old, a young gorilla comes up and takes everything he owns.”
Well, Independence Day on Coney Island is indistinguishable from a jungle, and Matt Stonie is the young gorilla.
Joey Chestnut still has some fight left in him, though. He demolished Stonie by 17 dogs last year.
Last year, Chestnut set a competition record by eating 70 weiners. But in qualifying, he did even better, ramming down 73.5. Like any world-class athlete, competitive eaters are getting better every year. Records are there to be broken, and hot dogs are there to be waffled down.
If meat is murder, then the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is a genocide.
Last year, a group of activists rushed the stage and dumped fake blood on the competitors. Though they got their point across, it wasn’t particularly effective. The competitive eaters just kept eating like the true professionals they are and the crowd kept cheering.
Maybe this year the activists will try again. If they do, they’ll have to pull off something much bigger.
Featured photo: Tony Fisher (flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]
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