Everything You Need to Know About Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

The Fourth of July tradition is held on Coney Island every year.

hot dog eating contest
Competitive eaters Carmen Cincotti, Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie at the 2017 Nathans Famous 4th Of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest with 72 hot dogs at Coney Island on July 4, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Bobby Bank/WireImage)

Its that time of year: Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York’s Coney Island is back. This year’s championship will be held July 4 and televised on the ESPN family of networks. You can watch the women’s competition at 10:50 a.m. on ESPN3 and the men’s event will be shown at ESPN2 at noon. If you miss it, don’t worry, the men’s event will also re-air at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The prize money for the person who eats the most hot dogs is $20,000 is paid to the top men and another $20,000 is paid to the most accomplished women. According to Bleacher Report, it breaks down as follows:

First place: $10,000

Second place: $5,000

Third place: $2,500

Fourth place: $1,500

Fifth place: $1,000

Last year, 35,000 fans attended the hot dog eating contest and another 1.11 million watched on ESPN. The winners in 2017 were Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo. They are both already famous in the world of competitive eating. Chestnut is the sport’s all-time record holder and in 2016, he ate 73.5 hot dogs and in 2017, he consumed 72 hot dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes. Sudo, meanwhile, devoured 41 hot dogs in 2017.

Chestnut has won 10 of the 11 Nathan’s events. Sudo has won the last four.

The first competition was held in 1972 and was won by Jason Schechter who only ate 14 hot dogs. But then in 1991, Frank Dellarosa destroyed 21.5 hot dogs, becoming the first person to eat 20 or more hot dogs at the event. It has only gone up since then. The sport (though some critics refuse to acknowledge competitive eating as a sport), really came to a head when Takeru Kobayashi set a new standard in the event in 1997 after eating 50 hot dogs in the 10-minute span.

Nathan’s first opened its doors in 1916 and became an iconic part of Coney Island.

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