The History of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

4 things to know about the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest

What better way to celebrate America’s independence than with hot dogs. Lots of them.

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Each year, contestants spar with their mouths at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Brooklyn, New York.

Here’s a quick guide of what to know:

How did the hot dog eating contest get started?

Legend has it that the contest got started between some friends to prove their patriotism shortly after Nathan Handwerker opened his first hot dog stand near Surf and Stillwell avenues in 1916, according to Nathan’s Famous.

Now, more than 35,000 people witness the eating event live and even more watch as it is televised on ESPN as well.

Who won the 2017 competition?

For the men, Joey Chestnut was crowned champion after consuming 72 hot dogs. Chestnut, a 10-time winner, won the title for a second year in a row.

“Defeat must have left a bad taste in the eight-time champion's mouth,” Nathan's website said. “Because in 2016, Joey Chestnut ate his way to a dramatic victory and a new contest record by devouring 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes.”

For the women, Miki Sudo ate 41 hot dogs to win the title for the third year in a row.

What’s the record for hot dogs eaten?

Chestnut set the men’s record for eating 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes in 2017. Sonya Thomas holds the record for women with 45 hots dogs eaten in 10 minutes in 2012.

What does the winner get?

Aside from bragging rights and the glory that comes with competitive eating, the contest pays out $40,000 in prize money. The first-place winners for the men and women’s categories receive $10,000 each.

Joey Chestnut (C) and Matt Stonie (R) compete in the 2017 Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island on July 4, 2017 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Chestnut was declared the winner for this 10th title overall after eating 72 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The contest in Coney Island is in it's 101th year. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

Nathan’s Famous also donates 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City, according to Major League Eating, the governing body for competitive eating.

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