Perhaps the most famous competition in the annals of competitive eating, the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is set for action on July 4th. Held every year at the Nathan’s Famous Corporation’s restaurant in Coney Island, this competitive eating spectacle features the world’s best at inhaling hot dogs. The heavy favorite at this year’s event will be defending men’s champion Joey Chestnut who is coming off a spectacular performance at the 2021 showcase where he consumed 76 hot dogs. Behind Chestnut in the standings are two other prodigious eaters in Geoffrey Esper (the world record holder for SPAM consumed) and Nick Wehry (the hard-boiled eggs champion).
For this article, SBS will go over what each contender brings to the table at this competition and who will be the last one left standing in Coney Island.
|Favorites to win The 2022 Nathan's Hot Dog Contest Men's Division|
Perhaps the greatest competitive eater in modern history, Chestnut is aiming for even more history in Coney Island this Fourth of July. In 2021, Chestnut won his record 14th title at the famous hot dog eating contest by eating 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, which set a new world record. Also last year Chestnut was victorious at the 2021 Destination Outlets World Pumpkin Pie Eating Championship. In that competition, he consumed over 16 pounds of Pumpkin Pie in eight minutes.
In addition to his prodigious talent at consuming hot dogs, Chestnut is also the world record holder for various other food-related competitions. This includes his world record for Big Macs (32 Big Macs in 38 minutes in 2021) and also grilled cheese sandwiches (47 sandwiches in 10 minutes in 2020). Also in 2020, he ate an astounding nine pounds of pizza in 32 minutes in a MrBeast YouTube video. According to his personal website, Chestnut trains for each competition by fasting and slowly building up to his competition level by eating more and more hot dogs prior to the event. In the past, he has compared this level of training to running or lifting weights like other athletes.
Perhaps Chestnut’s closest competitor, Esper himself is the world record holder for a variety of different competitive eating showcases. In addition to his SPAM title, the 47-year-old is the champion when it comes to bratwursts (36 4.5oz brats in 10 minutes) in 2019 and also texas sausages (44 in 10 minutes in 2022). With both of those foods being similar to the hot dog in style, perhaps Esper has unlocked some new ways to expedite his sausage consumption. What’s more, he is also the grand champion world record holder for tamales (95 in 10 minutes in 2019) and pretzels (26 pretzels in eight minutes in 2019 as well). Though it will take a colossal effort to topple Chestnut, Esper certainly has the track record for world record consumption.
The last contender on our breakdown, Wehry is known for his hard-boiled egg dominance, but can he compete when it comes to hot dogs? He certainly can consume things at a rapid rate as his Major League Eating official bio would suggest. At the 2021 DraftKings Red Carpet Film Feast, Wehry ate a world record 50 hard-boiled eggs in exactly three minutes and four seconds. An eye-popping feat, he is also engaged to the No.1 ranked female eater in the world, Miki Sudo, who has made a consistent effort to push him to the next level. Wehry is the dark horse here to topple Chestnut.
Prediction: While each contender brings something different to the table, this is firmly Chestnut’s competition to lose. Take Jaws to win his 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest on Monday.
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