Everything to know about Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, including why Joey Chestnut isn’t participating

The Fourth of July means plenty of hot dogs will be on the grill, but perhaps none more than on Coney Island.

Coney Island has been the home of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest just about every year since 1972 at the original Nathan’s.

Its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, notably because of the dominance of two of the best eaters ever.

Takeru Kobayashi broke the world record for most hot dogs eaten in 12 minutes, nearly doubling the previous record of 25.5.

It was Kobayashi’s first of six straight titles, but Joey Chestnut dethroned him in 2007.

Chestnut broke the record by eating 66 dogs and buns, which kick-started a dominant run. He’d wind up winning each contest until getting upset in 2015 by Matt Stonie. 

But Chestnut reclaimed the crown the following year and has won every year since.

This year, however, there will be a new champion because Chestnut will not be on Coney Island.

Last month, Chestnut signed a brand partnership deal with Impossible Foods, a rival of Nathan’s. Major League Eating ruled that as long as Chestnut was partnered with a Nathan’s rival, he would not be permitted at the competition.

Joey Chestnut with hot dogs


Despite Chestnut saying he was hoping something would work out, nothing ever did, thus the reason Chestnut won’t be in New York.

He will, however, compete in another hot dog eating contest in El Paso, Texas, which will be live-streamed at 5 p.m. ET, nearly five hours after the Nathan’s contest ends.

With Chestnut out of the race, sportsbooks say it’s a four-man race between Geoffrey Esper, James Webb, Nick Wehry and Patrick Bertoletti. Esper is the favorite at -110, while Webb is +140, Wehry is +300 and Bertoletti is +600.

Joey Chestnut at a Georgia game

The goal is simple: eat as many hot dogs (and buns) as you can in 10 minutes (it went from 12 to 10 in 2008). Win, and receive $10,000.

Condiments, water and other beverages are allowed to make the eating easier, although typically, no one opts for condiments.

The contest will be broadcast on ESPN and begins at noon ET.

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