The Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest has taken place in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York since the legend was born in 1916. The contest was officially created in 1972, holding a hot dog eating contest on July 4 at the original Nathan’s Hot Dog stand.
Like most things, the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest has been affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic for the past two years. The 2020 contest was held in a warehouse in Brooklyn with no fans, and people could only watch on ESPN.
In 2021 the contest was held in Maimonides Park, a minor league baseball field on the Coney Island boardwalk a few minutes walking away from the original Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand, with 7,000 people in attendance.
In 2022 the contest will return to its rightful home at the original stand in Coney Island, with no limits on the number of spectators. Nathan’s Hot Dogs believes that upwards of 35,000 will be in attendance during the Independence Day celebrations. That has been the average as the contest has grown in popularity over the last decade. The eating contest can also be watched live on ESPN starting at 10:30 am ET.
The men’s competition has been dominated by Joey Chestnut, who had won every contest since 2007, except when he came in second place in 2015. He has set and reset the world record for the number of hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes multiple times at the competition. Last year he reset the record for the fifth time in the previous six years, eating 76 hot dogs and buns in the allotted 10 minutes.
In 2011, the eaters were divided into groups by gender, with a male and female winner. Before then, they had eaten in the contest together, with Sonya Thomas coming in third in 2010. Thomas won the first women’s Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest, eating 40 hot dogs with buns. Thomas won the next two before being outeaten by Miki Sudo in 2014. Sudo stayed the women’s champion till 2020, breaking the women’s record with 48.5 hot dogs. Last year Sudo did not compete because she was pregnant, allowing Michelle Lesco to win.
After a two-year hiatus, the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest will be back at its rightful home, with the crowd ready to cheer on the best eaters in the world.