How many hot dogs won the 16th Nathan’s Contest?
Not even lightning and heavy rain could stop Joey Chestnut on Tuesday.
After a nearly two-hour delay due to inclement weather, Chestnut continued his dominance at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, winning his 16th title in 17 years.
Chestnut ate 62 hot dogs and buns during the 10-minute contest in front of cheering onlookers during the July 4th spectacle at Coney Island in New York. Runner-up Geoffrey Esper ate 49 hot dogs.
“What an emotional rollercoaster ride,” Chestnut said during the ESPN broadcast, referring to the weather delay. “They told us it was cancelled. We weren’t sure if we were going to eat today and I’m just happy. It’s July 4th and I get to eat some hot dogs and win.”
Chestnut finished 14 points short of his record of 76, but ate more than enough to crush the competition and win the mustard belt awarded to the champion. He said the weather delay affected his performance.
“I’ve got room left,” he said, “so I’ll have beer later.”
Chestnut has only lost once since 2007 – in 2015 when Matt Stonie ate 62 hot dogs and Chestnut ate 60.
Over the next six years, Chestnut ate no fewer than 70 hot dogs and tightened his grip on the belt.
Last year, Chestnut ate 63 hot dogs but was competing with a broken right leg and less than three weeks after his mother’s death.
“Looking back, it’s crazy that I even wanted to compete last year,” Chestnut told USA TODAY Sports a week before this year’s competition. “And I’m just glad that I’m feeling so much better now.”
A year after a protester stormed the stage and landed in Chestnut’s stranglehold, the competition passed uneventfully.
The women’s competition took place before heavy rain and lightning delayed the celebrations.
Miki Sudo won her ninth title while devouring 39½ hot dogs and buns.
Mayo Ebihara of Japan was second with 33½ hot dogs. Sudo said she knew Ebihara was a threat and it distracted her early on.
“I watched her, I fumbled my hands, I gave a big burp right at the start,” she said during the ESPN broadcast. “But I was able to correct.”
Sudo has only failed to win once since 2014 – when she skipped the 2021 competition because she was pregnant.