Some might say this competition, frankly, is amazing.
The annual spectacle of grown men and women gorging themselves on hot dogs for Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Competition on July 4 is as much about tradition as it is about culinary combat. Competitors consume dozens of dogs in the more than 100-year-old contest, and last year’s winner—the legendary Joey “Jaws” Chestnut—consumed what amounts to nearly nine days worth of the average man’s calorie intake in 10 minutes. So if you’re squeamish, you might want to skip this one.
But if you’re willing to brave the crowds to embrace the bizarre, beloved Coney Island tradition, or maybe just tune in from the comfort of your home or wherever you find yourself this holiday, here’s what you need to know about this year’s gut-busting display.
When and where is this year’s competition?
This year’s event will happen where it always does: On the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island. The stage is mere steps from the Nathan’s flagship at 1310 Surf Avenue. The ladies chow down first at 10:45 a.m., followed by the men at noon.
How do I get there?
Straphangers can take the N, Q, D, and F to the Coney Island-Still Avenue station or ride the B68, B82, or B36 to the Brooklyn neighborhood. We recommend you stick to public transit for this one—roads will likely be a mess with an influx of July 4 beachgoers.
How can I watch it?
Live coverage of the women’s hot dog eating contest begins at 10:45 a.m. on ESPN3. Coverage of the men’s contest will be on ESPN2 at noon. The men’s competition will also re-air on ESPN2 at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. and on ESPNEWS at 7 p.m. and midnight. Folks can also stream the action online at WatchESPN or on the WatchESPN app.
Who are the favorites?
Along with a fancy championship belt and a full stomach, competitors are eating for a $10,000 cash prize—so the feast is fierce. Unsurprisingly, Chestnut is the heavy favorite to win his 12th mustard belt. Last year he downed a whopping 74 hot dogs—a full 10 more than runner-up Carmen Cincotti, who isn’t even participating this time around. Meanwhile, Miki Sudo, who also brought home a belt last year at nine dogs ahead of her nearest competitor, is expected to blaze ahead of her fellow eaters.