Hot dog eating champion defends title, sets new record
New York, Jul 4 (EFE).- Consuming 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes, Joey Chestnut on Sunday once again devoured his way to a triumphant win in the traditional July 4 contest on New York City’s Coney Island, in the process setting a new official world record.
Chestnut, for the 14th time, won the “Mustard Belt” awarded annually for the past 70 years by US hot dog manufacturer Nathan’s.
The champ had set the previous record of consuming 75 hot dogs – buns and all – in 10 minutes last year at the annual contest, although the public was not allowed to witness that historic landmark live due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Nicknamed “Jaws” for his legendary ability to down dozens of hot dogs at blinding speed, Chestnut was primed on Sunday to smash the record on live ESPN television, but the network had intermittent transmission problems and the broadcast feed had gone down just seconds before he ate his way across the finish line.
Chestnut finished far ahead of his closest challenger, Geoffrey Esper, who swallowed “only” 50 hot dogs at the event.
With the triumph, the 37-year-old Chestnut, a California native, notched his 14 victory in the last 15 editions of the Nathan’s contest.
Although he mugged some for the cameras before and after the event, Chestnut was all focus and all business while the contest was under way, just as he has been every time he has competed and defended his title.
For years, he has also kept his No. 1 ranking on the Major League Eating (MLE) list, which includes the world’s outstanding “competitive eaters.”
If anyone should claim that this is not serious business, the world’s top eaters in the MLE classification can win more than half a million dollars each year in prizes and sponsorships.
In the women’s category, Michelle Lesco bested all challengers by downing 31 hot dogs, taking full advantage this year of the absence of 2020 champion Miki Sudo, who had dominated past events and had won the competition every year since 2014.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is the premier annual event among eating competitions, and similar events are held all over the United States at assorted celebrations both large and small.