Dog Day Afternoon: Joey Chestnut Sets Wiener-Eating Record

  • Rick Chandler

In the realm of tubular processed meat consumption, Joey Chestnut reigns supreme. The competitive eater they call “Jaws” was carried in like an Egyptian pharaoh today at Coney Island (see below), and left as the seven-time champion of the Famous Nathan’s Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. Chestnut, from San Jose, CA, set a world record by consuming 69 hot dogs and buns, besting his closest competitor, Matt Stonie, by 18 dogs.

The effort gave Chestnut seven straight Nathan’s titles, breaking the record he shared with Takuru Kobayashi.

Kobayashi competed in a rival hot dog eating event across town at the Eventi Hotel, downing 64 dogs and buns. The Japanese eater, who put the Nathan’s competition on the map in 2001, went independent in 2010 after a contract dispute with Major League Eating. He has not competed at Nathan’s for the past four years.

Sonya Thomas, a 100-pound dynamo known as the “Black Widow” of competitive eating, wolfed down nearly 37 wieners to narrowly eke out her own victory in the women’s division.

While many sang Chestnut’s praises on social media, others have begun demanding a showdown with Kobayashi. It’s becoming somewhat of a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao paradigm — people want to see the two best hot dog-eaters in the world compete on the same stage. It’s clear that no one else is in their class. But Major League Eating’s restrictive contract policies have so far precluded that matchup. Kobayashi left the league because it would not let him compete in other eating contests.

Typically, there was no mention of Kobayashi during ESPN’s Nathan’s coverage today (although the network did run an E:60 segment on his rivalry with Chestnut).

Photo: Associated Press.