Ahh, the Fourth of July! A day to celebrate all the things that make America great. Fireworks. Drinking. And of course, the sport of who can shovel the most hot dogs into their facehole in ten minutes. Yes, the celebration of USA’s independence will once again be highlighted by the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, straight from Coney Island, New York (12:00 PM Eastern).
This year’s contest is allegedly the 100th anniversary, even though it wasn’t a regularly held event until 1972. Apparently it began in 1916, when four immigrants ate themselves sick trying to prove who was the most American. It’s refreshing to see that we still hold the same values a century later.
This year, the big storyline will be if the legendary Joey Chestnut can recapture his title after his eight-year run was snapped in 2015 by up-and-comer Matt Stonie. While Chestnut is still one of the top competitive eaters in the game, “Jaws” has seen his pace at Coney Island slow down in recent years. After a record-setting 69 hot dogs in 2013, Chestnut followed it up with 61 in 2014 and just 60 last year.
Stonie was somewhat of an unknown before last year’s upset, but he’s quickly asserted himself as the next great in the sport. Winning everything from chicken wing contests, to a poutine challenge in Canada, Stonie has passed Chestnut for the number one ranking in Major League Eating.
That sets up the real Independence Day sequel we wanted to see. (Take that Roland Emmrich!) Can Chestnut prove he’s still the greatest in competitive eating, or does he have to cede his crown to the next generation?
If that’s not enticing enough, the women’s side is another intriguing two-horse race, as Miki Sudo and Sonya Thomas will once again duke it out for hot dog supremacy.
And in case you didn’t think we had odds for this, of course we do!
(Photo credit: Ethan from Manhattan, USA (The winner (cropped)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
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