Since it started airing on ESPN I would watch it every Fourth of July. It was my favorite part of the holiday and last year my best friend and I went to New York to see it in person! Unfortunately she couldn’t join in this year, but I decided that I just couldn’t miss it and went on my own!
I got to Coney around 8:45am. I managed to get myself a VIP pass but I wasn’t exactly sure where that meant I could be. I’m glad I got there early though ’cause I soon met up with Jamie and Sadie and Carrie (the HungrySisters) again and we managed to get right up front near the stage. I decided to stick it out with them because the VIP area looked to be a little more off to the side. Although, since it is such a fan favorite/media frenzy/thunderstick clapping/signs in the air event it is nearly impossible to get a good photo from anywhere! Maybe next year I can get a media pass…does running a blog make me media?
Anyways, we stood there. For a long, long time. But we were entertained by both the stage and the crowd! The guys behind us were die-hard Kobayashi fans. And the guys next to us were all about Chestnut. I think me and the Hungry Sisters didn’t care too much who won since we love them all! I mean, on one hand I have never seen Kobayashi win live, so I’d love to see him win, on another keeping the title in America is cool so I totally want Chestnut to win. But on my third and fourth hands I would die to see Pat Bertoletti or Tim Brown win it and do Chicago proud! So, in conclusion, I just want to see lots of people eat a lot of hot dogs!
The on stage entertainment was great as well. There was everything from a strong man to dancing dogs to music groups to the musical stylings of Badlands Booker himself!
Finally at noon the broadcast began! We watched Bunnettes dance and an ESPN reporter put hot dogs in a blender and drink them!
And then the competitors were announced and everyone took the stage…
As the giant Nathan’s Famous clock counted down we all prepared for what surely would be an epic battle. And boy was it.
As soon as the clock ran down the eaters were off, hot dogs were dunked and stuffed and pressed and consumed. I had a good view of Tim Janus who seemed to be eating at a pace I’d never seen from him before. Joey and Kobayashi were pretty much neck and neck but with Joey always seemingly just that much ahead. I tried to keep up with my favorites Pat Bertoletti and Tim Brown, but unfortunately they were at the other end of the table and tough to see. They ate. And ate. And ate. And then something completely crazy happened. Not only did Joey Chestnut break his ten-minute hot dog eating record from last year…he broke his twelve-minute record from the year before! With 68 hot dogs and buns Joey Chestnut won and edged out Kobayashi (who ate 64.5) for the third year in a row! Pat came in third with 55, which, by the way, just four years ago would probably have been enough to kill the competition. It’s amazing the pace and capacity that has built up over these last few years!
The Fourth of July hot dog eating contest is ALWAYS an amazing time! I highly recommend it to anyone!