It’s one thing to enjoy a perfectly grilled hot dog on the Fourth of July. Who knows, you may even go for a second. But trying to down dozens of them in 10 minutes? That’s professional territory. And it’s exactly what the pros try to pull off during the legendary Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Competition that takes place every July 4.
The competitive eating spectacle, which traces its roots back to 1916, will take place once again this Independence Day in Coney Island on the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Brooklyn, steps from the Nathan's flagship location. And while your cookout commitments elsewhere may prevent you from witnessing the event live in person, here’s what you need to know about this year’s big contest and how to watch from afar.
What time is the hot dog eating contest?
Crowds will be gathering early on July 4 to get a view of the stage near the Nathan's flagship restaurant, and the ladies' competition will kick off at 10:45am EST. That will be followed by the men's contest, which starts at 12pm EST.
What is the prize money?
For downing the most dogs in 10 minutes, the winner of the men's and women's competition receives a cool $10,000. The men's winner is also given possession of the contest's coveted mustard-yellow belt, while the winner of the women's contest gets the pink belt (a cruelly ironic prize for anyone who just housed dozens of hot dogs in a fraction of an hour).
Who won last year?
In 2018, competitive eating legend Joey "Jaws" Chestnut took the top prize for a twelfth time after downing an astonishing 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He remains the favorite this time around. On the women's side, Miki Sudo has won for the last five consecutive years (she hit the 37-hot dog mark in 2018), and she's expected to beat out the competition again this year.
What channel is the hot dog eating contest on?
If you can't make it to the live event, the whole thing will be broadcast live on cable. You can catch the women's event at 10:45am on ESPN3, and the men's event at noon on ESPN2 (the men's event will also be re-aired periodically throughout the day on ESPN2). If you're a proud cord-cutter, you can stream it all on WatchESPN.
What is the hot dog eating contest record?
The world record for eating the most hot dogs in 10 minutes goes to Joey Chestnut, who set it during last year's contest when he made it to 74. The record for the women's competition (which started as a separate event in 2011) is held by competitive eater Sonya Thomas, who set it when she ate 45 hot dogs and buns in 2012.