Over the weekend, our family celebrated the Fourth of July with friends, fireworks, music, bonfires, swimming, a parade–and, of course, hot dogs! Even though we consumed a lot of a hot dogs on the whole, it’s not like we were racing to eat as many as we possibly could. But did you know hot dog eating contests actually are a Fourth of July tradition?
Consuming Hot Dogs for 100 Years
2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contests , the winner of which receives the Mustard Yellow International Belt.
First contest was in 1916 with a mere 4 participants arguing over who was the most patriotic; however, records for the event the Hot Dog Eating Contest officially began on July 4, 1972. The winner in ’72 Jason Schechter (USA) who ate 14 hot dogs and buns. In 2007, Joey Chestnut (USA) defeated 6-time champion Takeru Kobayashi (Japan) by eating 66 hot dogs and buns in just 12 minutes. Chestnut would continue to win year after year, until he was unseated in 2015, getting edged out with a close second of 60 hot dogs and buns to Matthew Stonie’s 62. (The third place winner was a distant 35.5 hot dogs and buns.)
And The Winner Is…
The 2016 Hot Dog Eating Champion is Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut. Eating a total of 70 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
July 4, 2016 | Joey Chestnut regains hot dog eating title, sets record
NEW YORK (AP) — Joey “Jaws” Chestnut regained the Mustard Yellow International Belt Monday, ousting Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie of the championship title at the annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island on Monday. [Keep reading at USAToday.com]
One of the more amazing things I read about this year’s competition is that Chestnut actually ate more hot dogs and buns (73.5) during the qualifying round than he did in the final.  That’s nearly three times as as many hot dogs that would fit on an average roller grill at once.
Other Eating Contests
Even more amazing, I had no idea there was a Major League Eating (MLE) world body that overseas all professional eating contests.
Contests exist for wings, pepperoni rolls, pies (pumpkin, boysenberry, meat), tacos, gyros, crawfish, birthday cake, chili, peeps, poutine, kale, and even pasta ! I’d like to think that if there were an eating contest for Nutella, I would win–a girl can only dream.
So the question remains… how many hot dogs could you eat to win the Mustard Yellow International Belt?