At Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest, Joey Chestnut Takes Another Win

One contestant won his 15th straight contest and another won her title as the world’s top-ranked female eater at Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Monday.

Joey Chestnut, 38, who is known as “Jaws” and holds 50 world records in eating contests, finished first after gobbling 63 hot dogs.

Miki Sudo, the world’s No. 1 female eater who was out of the women’s contest last year because she was pregnant, came in first after eating 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She defeated Michelle Lesco, 38, who won in 2021.

“What better place to take back the title?” Mrs. Sudo said from the podium after the game, holding her son Max. “This is a great comeback.”

The competition, which has been held in alternate venues for the past two years because of the pandemic, returned to Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, a venue so known as “the parquet floor of Boston Garden,” said Rich Shea, the president of Major League Eating, on ESPN, which broadcast the game.

The game’s return to Coney Island drew thousands of spectators who flocked to Nathan’s original location to watch the game.

Spectators carried placards reading “Don’t Throw Up” and “Tastes Like Freedom” and others donned hot dog costumes as they cheered the eaters, who came from all over the country, as well as Australia and the United Kingdom to compete.

George Shea, the contest’s host and a founder of Major League Eating, praised the contest as “a battle between the titans, the early gods,” as a chorus of singers in white robes sang behind him.

“We’re back,” he shouted. “We’re back, Brooklyn!”

Kristen Thomlan, 31, traveled three hours from Coventry, Rhode Island the night before to see her first Nathan match in person.

“I wanted to see a legend and maybe break a world record,” Ms Thomlan said, referring to Mr Chestnut.

Ms Sudo, who entered with an injured wrist, did not improve her personal best of 48.5 hot dogs, but remained well ahead of the 12 other challengers throughout the competition. By the middle of the event, she had eaten more than 20 hot dogs, while the next contestant had only eaten 16.

In the last minute, Mrs. Sudo was the clear winner, having burned down 40 hot dogs. That left Mrs. Lesco compete for second place against Sarah Rodriguez, 35, a bodybuilder from Seattle, Wash.

Mrs. Lesco, who ate 26 hot dogs, came in second. Mrs. Rodriguez was third with 23.25 hot dogs.

After the women’s race, the workers cleaned the leftover hot dogs from the long table and placed fresh cups of water for the men’s round.

Mr. Chestnut, who weighs six feet and competed with an injured leg, said he was preparing for the competition by following a liquid diet.

“Lemon juice, water, a little protein,” he told ESPN on Sunday. “I will be happy and I will be hungry.”

The crowd chanted “Joey! Joey!” while Mr. Chestnut defeated 15 other men, including a war veteran who fought in Afghanistan, a Chicago man who once ate 275 jalapeños in 8 minutes, and Nick Wehry, Mrs. Sudo’s fiancé and a Tampa, Florida diet coach, who last year ready with 50 hard-boiled eggs in 3 minutes and four seconds.

After the game, Mr. Chestnut looked exhausted, sweaty, and grim.

“It was a crazy game,” he said from the podium.

Mr. Chestnut, who has a personal best of 78 hot dogs, has set more astonishing records including 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes, 82 tacos in eight minutes and 5.9 pounds of funnel cake in ten minutes.

The maximum number of hot dogs a person can consume in 10 minutes is 83, according to a 2020 study published based on 39 years of data from the competition.

The annual hot dog eating contest has been held every year since 1916.

In 2020, the American spectacle took place in an undisclosed location and accessible only to the news media to help contain the spread of Covid-19. Last year spectators were welcomed, but the event was ticketed and held in Maimonides Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, to also limit the number of attendees.

On Monday, Luis and Yolenny Colon from Brooklyn came to watch the game with their 2-year-old daughter, Jolene, and their French bulldog, Bella.

They said they were a little disappointed that Mr. Chestnut didn’t improve his record, but they were thrilled that their child was able to attend the match at the traditional venue.

“We wanted her to experience something so iconic,” said Mr. Colon, 38. “This is history.”

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