Article by : Kevin Eagleson
The legitimacy of competitive eating being a sport is commonly debated, but sport or not, the Nathan’s famous hot dog eating contest captures the attention of America every year. This July 4th, 18 determined eaters competed in front of a raging crowd of wiener-hat wearing fans with one goal in mind, to scarf down the most dogs in ten minutes.
Joey “Jaws” Chestnut was the overwhelming favorite to win the competition after only losing one of his last twelve contests (to Matt Stonie in 2015). He has been close to unstoppable after taking down legend Kobayashi in the 2007 competition. Chestnut also set the world record for hot dog consumption last year with a whopping 74 wieners. The California native was set to continue his reign with the goal of breaking his own record.
Chestnut got off to a fast start and never looked back. “Jaws” had such a high dog-per-minute pace at the beginning of the competition, that he was on track to finish with 90 hot dogs. As in any sport, fatigue eventually kicked in and brought Chestnut’s DPM back to Earth. Nevertheless, the competition really did not remain close for long, as Chestnut quickly separated himself over the rest of the contestants. This did not slow the champion, as he kept giving his best effort to break the 74 mark.
Unfortunately, “Jaws” was not able to set a new world record, as he ended just three short with 71 hot dogs and buns, but he absolutely dominated the entire competition and cruised to his fourth straight victory. Second-place finisher Darron Breedon finished the event with 48 hot dogs. In a post-competition interview, Joey noted that the conditions were not optimal, which could have prevented him from eclipsing his previous record.
It was another disappointing loss from Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, who handed Chestnut his only loss over the last 13 years. Just four years ago, the YouTuber narrowly defeated Joey in an exciting head-to-head battle. Since then, Stonie has only seemed to get worse, this year finishing in fourth place with 41 hot dogs consumed, nowhere near Joey’s 71. It appears that “Megatoad” is just not in the same competitive eating state as he was in years past, and it may be a while until we see another eater dethrone Chestnut.
While competitive eating is not the most traditional sport, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut needs to be respected as one of the greatest athletes of this generation. He has been dominant for over a decade now, with a dozen victories to show for it. His domination over the rest of the competition to a degree is rarely seen in sports these days. It looks like Chestnut will continue his own dynasty for the foreseeable future, looking to top his own set records.