As it has since 2009, One Foot Tsunami is proud to once again celebrate the birth of America by providing our award-deserving coverage of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Unfortunately, like last year, the main ESPN channel opted to air Wimbledon at noon, rather than showing the hot dog eating contest live.1 However, the sports news empire at least managed to tone down their treason this year, airing the men’s contest live at noon on ESPN2. Let’s start, however, with the ladies.
The Women’s Contest
As in its first two years, the women’s contest was yet again relegated to also-ran status, airing at 11:30 solely on ESPN3 (an online-only “channel”). That said, MC George Shea did introduce the women with more flair than previous years, as they deserve, and the production was also somewhat improved. Nevertheless, here’s an assortment of quotes I uttered while watching the contest:
Why is the clock not running?!
Auuugh, why are they showing close-ups?! Stick to the wide shot!
Why are these meatheads SO goddamned bad at using a freaking scoreflipper?!
Honestly, wouldn’t you take thirty seconds to figure out how to operate the thing before the contest started? But then, you, dear reader, are not a meathead. Anyhow, this year’s women’s contest turned into a real nailbiter (ha!). Juliet Lee took an early lead, but two-time champion Sonya Thomas steadily climbed back into it. Though she fell short of her own record of 46 HDBs (that’s hot dogs and buns), in the end, Thomas edged out Lee by 3/4 of a dog to capture her third straight title. The final tally was 36 3/4 for Thomas to 36 for Lee.
Look of a Champion?
After that, I believe Sonya Thomas may have died.
The Men’s Contest
It’s clear that the men’s contest is the true focus, unfortunate though that may be2. That’s in part due to its storied history and recent drama. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, the mustard yellow belt was captured by several Japanese men. The most famous of these foreign gurgitators is Takeru Kobayashi, who won six straight titles from 2001 to 2006, blowing away the competition from the get-go by doubling the previous years’ best as he put down 50 dogs.
Since 2007, however, an American has earned the thanks of a grateful nation by bringing the title back home. Joey “Jaws” Chestnut defeated Kobayashi in 2007, then again in 2008 and 2009. Since 2010, Kobayashi has failed to compete, due to a feud with Major League Eating. Chestnut has thus been largely unchallenged, winning last year’s battle by 15 full hot dogs. Ultimately, it’s become a battle of Chestnut vs. Chestnut – can he break his own record of 68 hot dogs in ten minutes?
If Chestnut is the Franchise, then Matt “Megatoad” Stonie is the Future. At just 22 years old, he’s the #4 ranked eater in the world, and recently beat Chestnut in an asparagus-eating contest. Stonie is also, I kid you not, majoring in Nutrition with aspirations of being a Dietition [sic]. For now, Stonie represents one of the only real threats to Chestnut. Could Stonie, or Eater X Tim Janus (possessor of a world-record 18.1 second belch), take down Jaws in 2013?
Let’s skip the initial drama – they could not. While Stonie kept pace with Chestnut in the opening minutes, Joey eventually pulled away and never looked back. He now stands alone as the all-time leader, with 7 consecutive titles, and it hasn’t even been close. Ultimately, the drama came in the final minutes, as Joey’s total rose. Could he wolf down more than 68 HDBs? Was a new world record in the cards?
In what must be the least sexy 69 ever, Joey Chestnut one-upped himself and set a new world record, with 69 HDBs. That’s incredible, and incredibly gross. If you missed the contest live at noon on ESPN2, or re-aired immediately after at 1 PM on ESPN, you still have two more chances to take in the spectacle. Tune in at 5 PM on ESPN2 or one final, appetite-for-dinner-ruining time at 7 PM on ESPN. Otherwise, start the countdown to the 2014 contest – just 365 days to go!
Wimbledon occurring (and often ending) on July 4th is the only way England knows how to get back at us for the Revolutionary War. It is not very effective. ↩︎
Worth noting, however, is the fact that both the men and women earn the same prize, a ludicrous $20,000. ↩︎