Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2023: Everything You Need to Know
If you’re a fan of competitive eating, you probably know that the Fourth of July is not just a day to celebrate America’s independence, but also a day to witness one of the most iconic events in the sport: the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The contest, which has been held every year since 1972, takes place at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, Brooklyn, where dozens of eaters compete to see who can devour the most hot dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes.
The event attracts thousands of spectators and millions of viewers on TV and online, who watch in awe as the contestants stuff their faces with the famous Nathan’s franks.
But what exactly is the history behind this contest? Who are the current champions and challengers? And how can you watch it live or online?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2023:
The History of the Contest
According to legend, the first Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was held on July 4, 1916, when four immigrants challenged each other to see who was more patriotic by eating as many hot dogs as they could. The winner was James Mullen, who ate 13 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
However, this story has been disputed by some historians, who claim that the contest was actually started by a PR stunt in 1972 by Nathan’s owner Mortimer Matz. The first official contest was won by Jason Schechter, who ate 14 hot dogs in 3.5 minutes.
Since then, the contest has grown in popularity and prestige, attracting eaters from all over the world and breaking several records along the way. The contest has also spawned several spin-offs, such as a women’s division, a celebrity division, and a kids’ division.
The contest is sanctioned by Major League Eating (MLE), the governing body of competitive eating, which also organizes other events such as the World Pie Eating Championship, the World Oyster Eating Championship, and the World Hamburger Eating Championship.
The Current Champions and Challengers
The undisputed king of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who has won the men’s division 15 times since 2007, breaking his own world record several times. In 2022, he ate 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes, beating his closest rival by 17 hot dogs.
Chestnut, who is ranked No. 1 in the world by MLE, holds several other eating records, such as 141 hard-boiled eggs in 8 minutes, 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes, and 182 chicken wings in 30 minutes.
The reigning champion of the women’s division is Michelle “Cardboard Shell” Lesco, who won her first title in 2022 by eating 30.75 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She beat Sarah Rodriguez by half a hot dog.
Lesco, who is ranked No. 9 in the world by MLE, also holds records for eating 176 gyoza in 10 minutes, 10.5 pounds of baked beans in 2.4 minutes, and 4 pounds of asparagus in 10 minutes.
The main challengers for Chestnut and Lesco in 2023 are expected to be Geoffrey Esper and Miki Sudo. Esper is ranked No. 2 in the world by MLE and finished second behind Chestnut in 2020 and 2021. He holds records for eating 83 slices of pizza in 10 minutes, 281 Hooters chicken wings in 12 minutes, and 50 soft tacos in 11 minutes.
Sudo is ranked No. 5 in the world by MLE and won the women’s division six times from 2014 to 2019. She did not compete in 2020 or 2021 due to pregnancy and childbirth. She holds records for eating 16.5 pints of ice cream in 6 minutes, 8.5 pounds of kimchi in 6 minutes, and
41 lobster rolls in 10 minutes.
41 lobster rolls in 10 minutes.
Other notable eaters who may compete in 2023 include Matt Stonie (No.3), Darron Breeden (No.4), Nick Wehry (No.6), Gideon Oji (No.7), Max Suzuki (No.8), Eric Booker (No.10), Sonya Thomas (No.11), Molly Schuyler (No.12), Juan Rodriguez (No.13), Ronnie Hartman (No.14), and Leah Shutkever (No.15).
How to Watch the Contest
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place on July 4, 2023, on Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island. The event will start at 10:30 a.m. and last until around 3:30 p.m. The women’s competition will begin at 10:45 a.m., followed by the men’s competition at 12 p.m.
The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3, and streamed on the ESPN app. You can also watch it online for free on Rad Season, NBC New York, or MSN.
If you want to attend the event in person, you can get free tickets from Nathan’s website or from the MLE website. However, be prepared to arrive early, as the event usually draws a large crowd of fans and media.
The contest is also part of a larger festival that includes music, entertainment, games, and rides. You can also enjoy the famous Coney Island boardwalk, beach, and amusement park while you’re there.
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is more than just a spectacle of gluttony. It’s a celebration of American culture, tradition, and spirit. It’s also a showcase of human endurance, skill, and determination.
Whether you’re a fan of competitive eating or not, you can’t deny the excitement and thrill of watching the world’s best eaters go head-to-head in a battle of stomachs and wills.
So mark your calendars for July 4, 2023, and get ready to witness history in the making. Who knows, maybe you’ll even be inspired to join the contest yourself someday.