Previous “Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest” posts

The King Is Dead 

Monday, July 6th, 2015

Since 2009 this site has sought to provide unrivaled coverage of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. In the recent tradition of other Internet writers, however, I no longer plan to cover the event. I’m content to have provided meta-commentary since 2009. Someone else can pick up the baton for the next 7 years.

But before I go, a link to the 2015 contest is in order. On Saturday, Matt “Megatoad” Stonie upset defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, downing 62 dogs to Chestnut’s 60. To be clear, despite the headline, Chestnut didn’t actually die. However, his run of eight championships in a row has ended. Chestnut’s defeat may have been a result of playing hurt, as he was nursing a broken heart:

After his victory last year, he dropped to one knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend. They have since broken up.

How could a woman end a relationship with such a romantic? No doubt it had a negative impact on Chestnut, who simply couldn’t keep up with Stonie this year. One can only hope Chestnut’s heart will heal and he’ll be back in the hunt next year.

The 2014 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Friday, July 4th, 2014

With stomachs a-growing, and everyone telling you have a good Fourth, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, it’s time once again for the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and One Foot Tsunami is pleased to continue its tradition of providing coverage. As fans will know, in recent years, the live hot dog eating contest has been bumped off ESPN in favor of Wimbledon coverage. This year, the contest has been further marginalized, with ESPN 2 opting to show a World Cup quarterfinals game. Soccer, pfft. Sadly, it seems that the beautiful game of competitive eating is just not getting the respect it deserves. We won’t let that ruin our fun, however. To do so would be downright un-American. Let’s get into it.

The Women’s Contest

While a few women had previously competed alongside the men, in 2011, a separate women’s division was introduced. It features its own Pepto Pink belt, and a $20,000 prize for the winner, which matches the men. Since the introduction of the women’s category, eater Sonya Thomas has dominated, winning three consecutive titles and setting a women’s world record of 45 HDBs (that’s hot dogs and buns for you newcomers) in 2012. Nevertheless, despite putting up numbers that trump many of the men, Ms. Thomas and the rest of the women have always been marginalized. Their contest occurs earlier and is then ignominiously edited down for brief inclusion with the men’s coverage.

This year was perhaps the worst showing yet, with only the results being provided. It was actually quite a competition, one which could be viewed on ESPN 3 at 11:15 AM. Rookie eater Miki Sudo challenged Sonya Thomas to a hard-fought match. While Ms. Thomas’s world record remains, her streak of championships has come to an end. The rookie trumped Thomas, chowing down 34 HDBs to come away victorious. According to Ms. Sudo, though she was thrilled to win, “weather conditions got in the way” of a new world record. Perhaps next year.

Notes and Quotes

With the women out of the way in perfunctory fashion, ESPN was able to focus on the men’s competition. It’s clear this is where they believe the draw lies. They focused their reporting heavily on All-American champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who stated before the event that he’d had “no breakfast today, not much yesterday, I’m empty and loose right now”. “Empty and loose”. Gross.

In addition to the scent of hot dogs, love was in the air today. ESPN showed what might be the absolute worst sporting event-based marriage proposal of all time, as Joey Chestnut proposed to his girlfriend Neslie Ricasa on stage in front of the crowd. Ms. Ricasa must have just been swept off her feet by the romance of it all, because she said yes, after which she stood front and center to watch Joey compete and be showered by his run-off. It’s well-known that 95% of marriages that begin with a ballpark proposal end in divorce, but I believe Joey and Neslie can beat those odds.

After airing the proposal, ESPN had a Sport Science segment entitled “The Science of Competitive Eating” which showed what 69 HDBs look like inside a human being. Even though it used a dummy instead of a real person, the segment somehow managed to be even more vile than seeing the real competitors. Have a look at these images:

An empty stomach
An empty stomach.

A stomach with 69 HDBs
A stomach with 69 HDBs.

In a word, Barvd 🙊. After that sickening display, it was time to introduce the contestants and start the match. As always, MC George Shea and his brother and commentator Rich Shea were in fine form. Here are some of their best quotes.

Describing how competitor Yasir Salem’s won a world burping championship:

  • …with a 16 second burp described by judges as ‘both mournful and optimistic’.

From the introduction for anti-health food eater Brian Dudzinski:

  • If you believe in science, than you have to believe processed food is superior to something someone dug out of the dirt. He has spent ten years maintaining a boycott against any healthy food…The closest he has ever been to a goji berry is a Cheeto.

On up-and-coming eater Matt Stonie:

  • Youth is a hunter. It hunts us all. And this young man, only 22 years of age, is hunting the greatest prize in all of history: Joey Chestnut, and the coveted mustard yellow belt.

Joey Chestnut’s pitch-perfect introduction, in its entirety, including an incongruous portion of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” wherein Roger Daltry sings that he has “fought for [his] meals”:1:

  • Only moments from her womb, and before she even placed him to her breast, his mother held him close, and whispered in his ear. She said ‘You are of my flesh, but you are not mine own. Fate is your father [sic] and you belong to the people, for you shall lead the army of the free.’ And she held him high and the finger of power that destroys the unworthy descended, and it touched him on the forehead, and it anointed him the champion of the world, of now, and of always, of the fourth of July of the nation, of the free, under god!

Referring to Stonie’s chewing method, in topical fashion:

  • He’s got this Luis Suarez-type bite, which has no place in the game of fútbol, but it is welcome here at Coney Island.

Inappropriately describing Chestnut’s rhythm for eating:

  • Two meats, one bun.

Explaining the difficulty of eating the buns:

  • The buns are weighty, they’re like the hills of the Pyrenees for a Tour De France rider.

And finally, explaining the significance of Chestnut potentially winning his eighth-straight title:

  • I am not given to hyperbole, but if this happens, it’d be the greatest achievement in the history of man.

The Men’s Results

The men’s battle came down to the wire, and was one of the most dramatic in some time. Youngster Matt “Megatoad” Stonie defeated Joey Chestnut in several recent eating contests, and he was pitched as the challenger coming in. Sure enough, Stonie matched Chestnut throughout the contest, with the two battling back and forth for the lead in exciting and grotesque fashion. As Joey said in his post-contest interview, “it was just a dog fight the entire time”. Ba-dum ching.

Ultimately, while the kid had a whole lot in him, he didn’t have quite enough. Though Matt managed to down 56 HDBs, Joey powered through 61 HDBs to capture his eighth title. Megatoad is an exciting contender who just might end the champion’s run next year, but 2014 belonged to Joey Chestnut.

See For Yourself

If you want to see the full contest on TV, it’s airing at 2 PM on ESPN 2, and again at 6. Following that first TV broadcast, you could watch the Yankees take on the Twins at 3 PM. Alternately, you could do the right thing and flip to ESPN Classic. There, you’ll get a chance to see the 2007 Hot Dog Eating Contest, where Jaws put America on his back, and took down Takeru Kobayashi of Japan.

The Future

While British tennis and foreign “football” have ruled the airwaves today, there is hope for the future, as ESPN recently signed a 10-year deal to continue televising the hot dog eating contest. We can only hope they’ll afford it its due respect in future years. For now, this site will carry the torch.


Footnotes:

  1. Here’s an archive of the full introduction:

    ↩︎

The 2013 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

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.

Sonya Thomas
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?

Joey Chestnut, Triumphant
Yes!

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!


Footnotes:

  1. 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. ↩︎

  2. Worth noting, however, is the fact that both the men and women earn the same prize, a ludicrous $20,000. ↩︎

The 2012 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

If it’s July 4th, it’s time once again for the “wildest ten minutes in sports”, the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. As it does every year, One Foot Tsunami is pleased to provide you full coverage of the event. This year’s contest will once again be shown nationally on ESPN. However, it will not air until 3 PM today, on tape delay three hours after the contest actually occurred.1

Yes, dear readers, though it is the anniversary of the birth of this great nation, ESPN has opted instead to show Wimbledon coverage live, pushing the hot dog eating contest over to their online ESPN 3 “channel”. Showing a British tennis tournament instead of America’s own Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest from Coney Island, on Independence Day? Treasonous. Goddamned treasonous.

ESPN should also be ashamed for their gross marginalization of the women’s contest (much like last year). While it did air live on ESPN 3 at 11:30 AM, the production was simply pathetic. From the wide-angle still camera shot to the many spots of dead air to the meatheads who couldn’t properly operate the score flippers, the whole live viewing was a travesty.

Assorted Quotes From the Women’s Contest

  • …And you’ll put up a graphic, as soon as we go to live?…

  • Three minutes and forty-one seconds now left, ladies and gentleman…Sonya Thomas…Sonya Thomas has already broken her world record…strike that. My bun boy can’t count.

  • There’s some dispute with the judges now…As I told you, we’re gonna swear them in later [after the women’s contest], so technically they couldn’t be fined if they mess it up.

Sadly, but perhaps fortunately given the poor quality production, the women’s contest was edited down and folded into the men’s coverage. Elite female gurgitator Sonya Thomas shattered her own previous best (and world record), with a grotesque 45 hot dogs and buns, to capture her second Pepto-pink belt. As one announcer put it, the hot dogs were “falling like the euro for Sonya Thomas”. Ba-zing.

Now Let’s Bring On The Men

While the prize money is the same, the men’s event is the clear draw. Master of ceremonies George Shea gives it his all, and his brother Rich handles one-half of the television announcing duties (along with professional broadcaster Paul Page). There’s even a side-table reporter, “multi-platform media personality, television host, web entrepreneur, blogger, and spokesmodel“ Renee Herlocker (whose web site was apparently hosted on MobileMe). As a result, the men’s contest tends to be the source of the very best quotes.

A very literal answer on what it takes to win:

“You gotta come there…you gotta be hungry.”

Jason “Crazy Legs” Conti, on his outside interests:

“I enjoy movies quite a bit. VHS is my favorite format, and I own every Corey Haim and Corey Feldman movie.”

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, on training:

“It’s similar to a marathon runner training, and building up, building up, ramping up to peak.”

The only mention of Takeru Kobayashi:

“He is not here once again. But when you think about it, the last times that he met with Joey Chestnut, Chestnut put him away as well.”

The amazing introduction for five-time defending champion Joey Chestnut2:

“Too many of us are broken men, and we kneel at the side of the road, to be covered in the dust from the hooves of our enemies’ horses. We chew on gravel and we smile the smile of broken teeth and supplication. But one man will. not. kneel. One man will stand always, and he will cast you in his shadow. Because the rock on which he stands is not a rock! It is courage! It is hope, enough to sustain a nation!”

As the contest got underway, a few interesting numbers were presented.

By the Numbers: Assorted Hot Dog Eating Contest Numbers

  • 5: The maximum number of seconds a hot dog bun may be dunked in liquid.

  • 7.875: The number of pounds of deep fried asparagus Matt “Megatoad” Stonie ate in 10 minutes.

  • 10: Presumed value, on a scale of 1-5, for the stench of his resulting urine.

The Results

While the contest itself started off close, Joey Chestnut soon pulled away from the herd. Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti and Tim “Eater X” Janus both put up strong 50+ dog showings, but Jaws won by a comfortable 15.75 dog margin.3

Perhaps the best drama came in the closing moments. Like a shot leaving a shooter’s hands just before the buzzer went off, Joey Chestnut crammed two full dogs into his mouth as time expired. Once he’d finished chewing, he’d tied his own world record with 68 hot dogs and buns. In doing so, he won his sixth title, a “Jordan-level” feat. Another great day for America.

Do You Want More?

Just can’t get enough of this disgusting display? You can tune in for the re-run at 3 PM on ESPN or 4 PM on ESPN2. You can also read about the brothers Shea, who brought this exhibition to the main stage, in a rather incredible New York Times piece. Best of all though, for just 99 cents, you can try your (virtual) hand at competitive eating. Perform as your favorite gurgitator, and stuff, chew, and burp your way to victory in Major League Eating: The Game. Yeah.


Footnotes:

  1. If you’re planning to watch the television broadcast, you may wish to avoid the hot dog spoilers contained in this post. ↩︎

  2. If you’ve got 45 seconds, listen to the full audio:

    Pitch-perfect. ↩︎

  3. 15.75 hot dogs sounds like perhaps the least comfortable “comfortable” lead ever. ↩︎

The 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Yesterday was America’s independence day, which means it was also time for the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest. Since its inception in 2009, One Foot Tsunami has been providing you with coverage, so you don’t have to watch it yourself1.

2011’s event started off on a bit of a sour note, as the women were removed from the men’s contest and given their own competition. While the female winner received an equal $10,000 prize2, their contest was marginalized when it came to television coverage. It took place prior to the telecast and was summarized and disposed of in the first seven minutes of the coverage. Shameful, ESPN. Simply shameful.

Nevertheless, we should not allow ESPN’s discrimination, nor the off-putting Pepto-Bismol product placement, to sully this fine event. Instead, let’s take a look at the science of hot dog eating.

By the Numbers: The Science of Hot Dog Eating

  • 5 or more: The number of sticks of gum some competitors chew at a time, in a training exercise to strength their masseter muscles.

  • 280 lbs of force: The bite of some eaters, stronger than that of a German Shepherd.

  • 5 minutes: How quickly Joey “Jaws” Chestnut consumed 5 days worth of food (in the form of 30 hot dogs and buns, totaling 9000 calories).

You learn something new everyday. And today, you’ve learned something disgusting. Now, let’s dive into the best quotes from the contest.

The Best Quotes From the 2011 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, on how he spends his time:

“Outside of eating and cooking, I read a lot of bad teenage girl novels.”

On Damon Wells emergence:

“He is a rookie out of the dumpling circuit.”

Describing what led gurgitator Sean Gordon to find his niche in competitive eating:

“As a young man, he failed to excel in football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, soccer, tennis, swimming, running, wrestling, handball, racquetball, curling, cricket, and shuffleboard.”

Discussing youngster Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, who ate 32 hot dogs to qualify:

“18 years old – do you think he has a future?”

On Joey Chestnut’s confidence:

He looked like Bradley Cooper at a sorority house.

In response to the weak performance of Chinese competitor Lu Ming Kui, who said he eats mostly “fish and chicken”:

“When I think of savory chicken dishes, I think of the Colonel and General Cho. Mr. Kui does not have any military experience, and it looks like limited hot dog experience.”

In regards to competitors not being the lard-asses you might expect:

“Body fat takes up valuable space for stomach expansion, which is why many competitive eaters are surprisingly fit.”

Joey Chestnut, on his failure to set a new record:

“I was having a little bit of trouble with the water.”

The results of the ESPN SportsNation poll which asked “Is competitive eating a sport?”3

Yes: 18.7%

No: 81.3%

The Results

In the end, the contest’s outcome was unsurprising. Despite a good fight from Deep Dish, Jaws remained supreme. Joey Chestnut captured his fifth straight mustard-yellow belt with 62 HDBs downed.

Meanwhile, in a simultaneous chowdown across town, disgraced/disgraceful former champion Takeru Kobayashi claims to have downed 69 dogs. As this stunt was entirely unsanctioned, his “record” will assuredly not be recognized by Major League Eating. Do it on the stage, or don’t do it all, Takeru.

Hats off to you, Joey Chestnut. Readers, if you’re looking for more hot dog-related fun, check out the wraps from the 2010 and 2009 competitions. Otherwise, please join in on the appropriate closing chant: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!


Footnotes:

  1. Even as a fan, there’s no denying that this is a revolting spectacle which probably shouldn’t be allowed on daytime television. ↩︎

  2. An amount that seems unlikely to even cover the medical care that will no doubt eventually be needed. ↩︎

  3. To which I must retort with this tweet from last year:

    Maybe it isn't a sport, but I'll tell you this much: not once has the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest  ended in a 0-0 tie.

    Soccer. Pfft. ↩︎

Quotes From the 2010 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Last year, I shared some of the best quotes from the 2009 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Those quotes all came from the 10 minute contest itself. This year, I’m again sharing the most ridiculous quotes. Because I recorded the entire hour-long program, you get to read some of the phenomenal introductions as well.

So, without further ado, assorted quotes from the 2010 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

On six-time champion Kobayashi not competing:

“The official word is that he is at a labor impasse with Major League Eating.”

While demonstrating the massive quantity of food Chestnut consumed during the 2009 contest:

“Here’s the 68 dogs [Chestnut] consumed last year. Not the exact ones, that would be amazing.”

On rookie Ben Monson:

“He won the Rookie of the Year award. First visit to New York City, I understand he’s been going out clubbing every night, trying to put up some Wilt Chamberlain stats of his own.”

Really? A fat joke at the hot dog eating contest?:

“Major League Eating’s growing faster than Kirstie Alley”

From Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas’ introduction:

“Some say she is the absence of beauty, the shadow under the lotus petal. Others are less charitable. They say she is a living sign of the apocalypse, a force of evil who eats with a cloven tongue.

Three-time defending champion Joey Chestnut’s introduction:

“America is a dream born in the minds of its heroes. A fragile reality made possible only by those who understand greatness and the way to achieve it. Before you stands just such a man. His figure is crafted from clay by the fingers of the almighty himself to stand in a position of honor in the permanent collection of the museum of all time…The eater of the free world.”

On Kobayashi, who showed up in the crowd despite being ineligible to compete:

“You know, if you can’t come to terms with Major League Eating, I think you’re going to have to come to terms with yourself.”

On Notorious B.O.B. Bob Shoudt’s “physique”:

“He told me that he’s always been an athlete, says he still does 500 crunches a day. From the looks of things I’d say it’s 200 Nestle, 200 Captain, and 100 Heath bars.”

On the competitors:

“We’re talking people who actually train for this. They work on their gag reflex. They chew gum to strengthen their jaw, right?

“Yeah, and these guys watch tapes. That’s what really proves to me that it’s a sport.”

Joey Chestnut, post-victory, giving the final word on Kobayashi:

“If he was a real man, he’d be on the stage.”

Despite not setting a new world record, Chestnut claimed his fourth title in a row, keeping the mustard-yellow belt in America. Who needs the World Cup when we’re the hot dog eating champions? U-S-A! U-S-A!

Assorted Quotes from the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Commentator, reveling:

“You know what we’re seeing, is just a golden age of competitive eating.”

Contrasting American Joey Chestnut and Japanese Takeru Kobayashi:

“A much more physical eater, [Chestnut]’s a workaday guy. He’s a blue-collar eater, he just pounds that food down. It’s more like a ballet when you see Kobayashi.”

On the rivalry between Kobayashi and Chestnut:

“This is Lakers – Celtics!”

Joey Chestnut, on why he didn’t quite reach his goal of 70 HDBs (hot dogs and buns):

“The buns were a little bit slow today.”

Question posed to Joey Chestnut:

“At what point did you say, ‘I think I’ve got a world record in my belly’?”

On Joey Chestnut retaining the championship for America:

“I don’t moisturize and I don’t watch Gossip Girl. But I’m very emotional right now, as an American.”