History of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: What to know about Coney Island’s 4th of July tradition, records set by Joey Chestnut


NEW YORK — Few holiday traditions can be called as quintessentially American as Nathan’s famous hot dog eating contest.

For generations, the annual 4th of July frankfurter festival has taken place outside Nathan’s flagship store in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood. In 2022, the competition will return to the iconic corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues after a two-year hiatus from the traditional location due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WATCH: Joey Chestnut eats a record 76 hot dogs and wins Nathan’s 14th title

What to know about the biggest day in stomach-centric sports, according to Nathan’s Famous:

  • Nathan’s famous hot dog eating contest has been held on Coney Island every July 4 since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant, according to Major League Eating records. Irish immigrant Jim Mullen won with 13 hot dogs and buns.
  • Winning his 14th title, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set a new record in 2021 after eating 76 hot dogs and buns in the 10-minute contest.
  • Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., won his first title in 2007 after knocking down 66 HDBs, dethroning Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi.
  • Miki Sudo, the number one female hot dog eater in the world, set the women’s record in 2020 with 48 hot dogs and buns. She missed the pageant the following year due to her pregnancy.
  • The winners are crowned with the coveted international mustard yellow belt, the age of which is unknown.
  • The 1920s saw alternating victories between Stan Libnitz of Queens and Andrew Rudman of Brooklyn until 1928, when Rudman won by a half free. Libnitz allegedly accused Rudman of elbowing him in the stomach during their confrontation, according to Nathan, citing oral accounts.
  • The event was canceled in 1941 in protest against World War II.
  • In 2004, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas became the first woman to eat more than 30 dogs and buns.
  • Nathan’s Famous donates 100,000 hot dogs to the New York Food Bank ahead of each year’s event.

Nathan’s famous hot dog eating contest will air live on Monday, July 4. ESPN has exclusive rights to broadcast live from 10:45 a.m. ET until the end of the event, which is scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. ET.

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