In its 100 years, the winning hotdog count has more than quadrupled
The insane hot dog count has only gone up since 1984. By 2001, Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi, shocked everyone by setting a then-world record of 50 hot dogs with buns in 12 minutes. The contest was shortened to 10 minutes in 2008, and the record now stands at 69 hot dogs with buns in 10 minutes, achieved by Joey Chestnut in 2013.
And humans just ain't built for this sh*t
Which makes those records all the more impressive. Your esophagus responds to fatigue and intense stress just like every other muscle in your body, and it’s not designed for rapid-fire consumption like this. "These people put themselves at risk of esophageal tears, aspiration, nausea and vomiting, distention and abdominal pain," one cardiologist told Mic.
Vomiting is against the rules
This may be the most indulgent sport ever, but it’s not the History Channel’s version of Ancient Rome. The contest is overseen by Major League Eating -- originally called the International Federation of Competitive Eating, and created in the ’90s to regulate the safety standards for (and make boatloads of money off of) competitive eating. Some of the rules for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest include:
- Condiments are permitted, but typically go untouched
- The time limit is 10-minutes.
- Yellow penalty cards are issued for "messy eating."
- Disqualifying red penalty cards for regurgitation.
- Ties will be decided with a five-hot-dog eat-off.
- Further ties will be decided with one-hot-dog sudden death rounds.
The contest is not without controversy
Former six-time champ Kobayashi was actually arrested in 2010 for trying to jump the fence at the contest. Previously Kobayashi had refused to sign an exclusive contract with MLE, telling CNN through an interpreter at the time that he earned his livelihood through competitive eating, and a contract would prevent him from competing elsewhere. The charges were eventually dismissed, but Kobayashi’s name and photo were removed from the Wall of Fame in 2011.