July 4 means patriotism, fireworks and hot dogs… lots and lots of hot dogs. Thankfully we don’t have to eat them all; leave that to the professionals.
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest has taken place in Coney Island every year since 1916. It challenges competitive eaters to gobble up as many hot dogs in buns as possible in 10 minutes, and is often replete with drama and intrigue, not to mention the occasional reversal of fortune. Who are the favorites? Who is poised for an upset, or at least an upset stomach?
Here are a few predictions for the 2015 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
If you’ve followed competitive eating the past few years, then you likely think Joey Chestnut is the odds-on favorite at Coney Island once again. The returning champion, who is seeking his ninth straight title in the competition, has proven his skills again and again. Already this year, Chestnut has won burrito-eating, pie-eating and chili-eating contests. He’s the top-ranked competitive eater in the world, and he’s the man to beat for hot dogs. The eating machine may even consume his 2013 record of 69 hot dogs. We’ll have to wait and see.
Every competition needs the promise of an upset, and that’s where Matt Stonie comes in. Chestnut’s stranglehold on the title makes the event ripe for a shakeup. Stonie, the second-ranked competitive eater, has trailed Chestnut in previous years at Coney Island. In 2014, he ate 56 hot dogs compared to Chestnut’s 61, and in 2013, he ate 56 hot dogs compared to Chestnut’s 69. However Stonie has beaten Chestnut in several competitions since last year’s event, most recently in May at the World Gyro Eating Contest in Houston. Stonie solidly beat Chestnut, downing 22 gyros compared with Chestnut’s 15.25.
After gobbling up 34 hot dogs to claim the title in last year’s event, Miki Sudo will likely repeat that performance this year. She’s been busy in the months leading up to Coney Island. She placed second at RibMania VI in Chicago in June, and second in a burrito-eating contest in Denver in May. Sudo also holds the number-four spot in Major League Eating’s rankings.
If there’s anyone who can beat Sudo, it’s Michelle Lesco. The competitive eater consumed 27.25 hot dogs in a qualifying event for Coney Island in April, and took home the RibMania VI title in June, eating 3.2 pounds of ribs within eight minutes. She’s ranked eighth among competitive eaters, but that makes her all the more intriguing to watch when she gets behind the table on July 4.
Anything can happen at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Keep your eyes open and see what Sonya Thomas brings to the table. The Black Wido holds the current record for most hot dogs (45) eaten at the women’s competition. On the men’s side, look out for Tim Janus. Eater X consumed a whopping 36 hot dogs in a qualifying event in June.
For information on how and where to watch the competition, visit Nathan’s Famous website.