Joey Chestnut beat his own record — although it didn’t look like it at first. The 34-year-old reigning Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating champion beat out the competition at the brand’s 2018 Fourth of July contest on Coney Island, but his original dog count was 64 hot dogs, seven dogs fewer than last year. It was later reported that Chestnut actually downed 74 hot dogs and buns during the 10-minute competition, beating out second-place finisher Carmen Cincotti by 10 franks, according to Yahoo Sports.
Chestnut, whose nickname is “Jaws,” initially won the Nathan’s annual hot dog eating competition with a count of 64 hot dogs, but the competitive eater was adamant that he downed 74 of them when asked about it in his post-contest interview. After a complete review of the taped contest, it was revealed that the counters missed a plate of dogs because they didn’t see the competitive eaters were taking the dogs and buns from two plates. It was later determined that Joey Chestnut ate 74, not 64, hot dogs and buns in the 2018 Nathan’s contest. Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez certified the final tally and Joey Chestnut’s record of 74 hot dogs.
According to ESPN, longtime Coney Island announcer George Shea told the Associated Press the judging was not up to snuff during this year’s Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. Shea told the AP,
“Frankly, the judging was just off. Joey said, ‘Look at my plates,’ and Carmen said, ‘Look at my plates.’ We counted the plates that they had eaten and it was 64 and 74.”
Cincotti humbly said of his record-breaking rival, “At the end of the day, Joey Chestnut came in here and ate 74 hot dogs, broke a world record. Apparently, they were good dogs.”
After the 2018 contest, Chestnut told reporters he was feeling good about this year’s competition.
“I found a vicious rhythm,” Chestnut said, according to ESPN. “I was feeling good today.”
Joey Chestnut’s latest win marks his third straight championship and his 11th overall, as well as a hot dog eating world record. The champion eater, who once again won the coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt and a $10,000 cash prize, beat out Cincotti by a whopping 10 hot dogs after chowing down at a pace of about seven hot dogs and sopping wet buns per minute.
In 2007, Joey Chestnut unseated six-time defending champ Takeru Kobayashi in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and has only lost the title once since then, when Matt Stonie beat him in 2015.