In Major League Baseball, this year’s record spate of home runs has led some people to claim that the ball is “juiced.” Meanwhile, in Major League Eating, maybe the hot dogs were juicier — making them harder to eat? Though this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was won by two familiar faces, for the first time since 2015, no records were broken.
Joey Chestnut won his fourth consecutive — and twelfth total — hog dog contest yesterday, besting second place finisher Darron Breeden by a massive 21 hot dogs. Still, by eating “only” 71 hot dogs in ten minutes, Chestnut failed to top his own record of 74 dogs (bun and all) that he set at the Coney Island, Brooklyn, competition last year. “I was going for 75,” he told ESPN afterwards. “I always want a new record. I came out fast, but I slowed down faster than I would have liked.” Geoffrey Esper finished third with 47 dogs.
On the woman’s side, Miki Sudo took top prize: The six-time champion has now won every year since 2014. However, Sudo had her worst outing in any of those victories: just 31 hot dogs. She’s never held the all-time women’s record — which is 45 set by Sonya Thomas in 2012 — but Sudo ate 37 hot dogs last year and had her strongest victory in 2017 when she downed 41 dogs. That said, ESPN still described Sudo’s performance as an easy victory: Runner up Michelle Lesco only made it through 26 hot dogs. Sarah Reinecke and Juliet Lee tied for third with 23 dogs. As Sporting News pointed out, Lee is 54 years old. (Chestnut, comparatively, is 35.)
Despite their non-record-breaking efforts, both winners walked with a $10,000 prize each.
For those who prefer burgers over dogs, on Wednesday, further down the East Coast in Washington, D.C., the five-location chain Z Burger held its now 10th Annual Z Burger Eating Championship. While Nathan’s is clearly the higher profile event, Molly Schuyler has seen an opening: The now five-time winner ate 32 hamburgers in ten minutes breaking her previous record of 27 burgers from last year. “You don't have a reliable income with eating,” Schuyler said according to UPI. “So you make yourself eat cause if you don't, you are broke.” Speaking of which, she earned $1,500 for her ten minutes of work. Dan Kennedy finished second with 24 burgers. Andrew Puhl finished third with 20.
Schuyler has a deal with All Pro Eating where he holds the #1 overall ranking. Both Chestnut and Sudo are with the better-known Major League Eating where they are ranked #1 and #6 respectively (with Sudo being the top-ranked woman).
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