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Maybe it was the nearly two-hour weather delay that had competitors wondering if the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was actually going to happen, but Joey Chestnut fell one hot dog short of eating the amount he did last year in a 10-minute timeframe — and 14 hot dogs short of his all-time record.
But his hot dog consumption on Tuesday is nothing to scoff at: In 10 minutes — roughly half of a sitcom episode — Chestnut downed a whopping 62 hot dogs (including the buns) in front of spectators at Coney Island.
Geoffrey Esper, the runner-up, ate 49.
“What a roller coaster emotionally,’’ Chestnut said during the event, USA Today reported. “They told us it was canceled. We weren’t sure we were going to eat today, and I’m just happy. It’s the Fourth of July and I got to eat some hot dogs and get a win.’’
Joey Chestnut wins 16th annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
Rain and lightning hit just minutes before the men’s division of the contest was scheduled to begin, The New York Times reported.
“We will never surrender,” George Shea, the event’s host and promoter, told the fans who braved the elements and remained in the storm, per The New York Times.
Although the contest started later than usual, Chestnut restored order with his victory.
The event marked Chestnut’s 16th win. He’s only lost once — he couldn’t overtake Matt Stonie’s 62 hot dogs in 2015, per USA Today.
Joey Chestnut just ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes.⁰⁰• Calories: 18,414⁰• Total Fat: 1,129⁰• Carbohydrates: 1,488⁰• Protein: 682⁰⁰Chestnut has now won the event 16 out of the last 17 years.
The most dominant athlete of all time. pic.twitter.com/R4a968btPT
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) July 4, 2023
Tuesday’s competition was less eventful than the year before, which saw a protester in a Darth Vader mask take the stage, only to be put in a chokehold by Chestnut, who was on his 18th hot dog at the time and wound up eating 63 total, the Deseret News reported.
Chestnut earned $10,000 for his win, The Washington Post reported. Miki Sudo won $10,000 for the women’s contest — her 39.5 hot dogs secured her ninth victory.
Both competitors plan on returning in 2024 to defend their titles, per Yahoo! Sports.
Why I lost a hot dog eating contest
What is Joey Chestnut’s hot-dog eating record?
Chestnut’s all-time hot dog-eating record — and a record for the competition — came in 2021, when he downed a whopping 76 in 10 minutes, according to CNN.
Sudo’s record is 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She won the title last year with 40 hot dogs, and expressed disappointment that she came shy of that on Tuesday.
“Thirty-nine is a lower number, though, I’m sorry guys,” she told the crowd, per CNN.
Humans can eat — at most — 83 hot dogs in 10 minutes, The New York Times reported, citing a study from 2020.