Independence Day: Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Independence Day is marked for America’s birthday every year. But there is another celebration that takes place and it comes in the form of hot dog eating contests, which contestants take very seriously, and there is a dedicated organization that oversees it.

This year on Independence Day, Nathan’s will mark the 100th year of their annual hot dog eating contest, which has a bevy of competitors that are gearing up to break some records and eat some hot dogs. Even ESPN chimes in on the action every year, this time giving some much-needed stats to look at for the annual hot dog eating contest.

The truth is, hot dogs have been synonymous with Independence Day for a very long time. It’s the day when the family and the community comes together and grills hamburgers and hot dogs, the day when little kids roam around setting off firecrackers and just before twilight, they light up their sparklers and draw pictures in the night sky. So when we say hot dogs and Independence Day in the same sentence, it just seems to fit well.

This year, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place live on ESPN at 12 p.m. EDT on Independence Day. Fans of the hot dog eating contest should pay attention to a few stats that you may enjoy.

Last year, the winner for the annual hot dog eating contest on Independence Day was Matt Stonie, who devoured 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes to dethrone the reigning champion, Matt Chestnut, who only had 60 hot dogs down in that time. It was something of a surprise victory over Chestnut, who had been holding the title for eight consecutive years prior to that.

Stonie’s Independence Day victory last year was a rare achievement in the history of the hot dog eating contest, which has been in existence for 100 years total. In those 100 years, Chestnut has held eight titles and has pretty much dominated the hot dog eating contest every year on Independence Day, lately.

This year, Chestnut is looking to redeem himself and reclaim the hot dog eating title that has been his for so long. Chestnut also holds the world record for the title, which was when he put down 69 hot dogs in a 10-minute period, making him the most versatile hot dog eater in the world. But Stonie is coming back with a real competitive edge, being ranked the No. 1 hot dog eater in Major League Eating’s rankings and walking into the hot dog eating contest as a reigning champion.

Stonie’s hot dog eating victory last year on Independence Day was accomplished by eating 62 hot dogs and their buns in the 10-minute time period. Other than hot dogs, Stonie also holds 14 other world records with eating and his tiny body will do nothing to show it. The 24-year-old hot dog eating champion weighs in at a mere 130 pounds, making people wonder where all those hot dogs go when he devours them.

Chestnut is also something of major champion in the world of competitive eating, holding 38 International Federation of Competitive Eating records of his own. Those records are not just for hot dogs, but include chili, jalapeño poppers, pork ribs, and shrimp wontons.

Since the fist annual Independence Day hot dog eating contest commenced in 1916, this year will mark the centennial celebration and there are much more at stake this year, which includes bragging rights for the hot dog eating competition’s major centennial. This hot dog competition on Independence Day takes place every year on Coney Island in New York.

[Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images]