Happy Independence Day Weekend! You know what that means. Family barbecues, trips to the beach, and some meaningless midseason baseball games. But most important of all, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest! On Monday, the world’s foremost competitive eaters will battle in the 100th anniversary of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, every July 4th since 1916 Nathan’s Famous sponsors an eating contest where competitors have ten minutes to consume as many hot dogs and buns as possible. After ten minutes, the competitor who ate (and kept down) the most hot dogs wins the yellow mustard championship belt, $40,000 in prize money, and most importantly the gluttony glory. What is more American than that?
Last year, in a huge upset Matt Stonie ate 62 hot dogs and won the contest defeating defending champion and heavy favorite Joey Chestnut who only ate 60 hot dogs. This year will be a rematch for the two greatest eaters in the world. Let’s look at the tale of the tape between these contenders.
First the newcomer. Matt “Megatoad” Stonie is only 24 years old and the youngest member of the “Major League Eating” organization, more or less the PGA tour for competitive eaters. Stonie incredibly weighs only 120 pounds and stands at 5 feet 8 inches tall; not exactly what you imagine someone who can eat 60+ hot dogs to look like. Last year was Stonie’s very first Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and he of course did not disappoint, winning the contest. After a huge victory in Coney Island, he has built on that momentum and is now the top ranked eater in the world. Stonie is currently the slight favorite to win on Monday at -130 odds.
On the other side of the table, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut is the 32 year old veteran face of the competitive eating world. Since beating then six time consecutive champion Takeru Kobayashi in the 2007 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Chestnut has dominated the event, winning every year from 2007 through 2014. Chestnut still holds the all time hot dogs consumption record for the contest for a stomach cringing 69 hot dogs eaten back in 2013. Standing at 5 feet 9 inches and 240 pounds, Chestnut is much larger than the man who took his title in 2015. Despite Chestnut’s history of success, his odds are slightly worse than Stonie’s at -110, but the matchup is a relative tossup in Las Vegas.
The centennial of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest has one of the best storylines in its history. Can Joey Chestnut win back his title? Or can Matt Stonie start his own dynasty as hot dog eating champion? The competition should be fierce and I expect a super tight race to the finish on Monday. My pick to win is Matt Stonie, but do not be surprised if Joey Chestnut regains his title. The country will find out soon as we all celebrate our nation’s independence day.
Photo Credit: CNN
Odds courtesy of oddsshark.com