Joey “Jaws” Chestnut grinned on his way to his 15th win Monday at Nathan’s famous 4th of July hot dog eating competition, turning 63 hot dogs and buns at the annual Exposition of Surge.
In a decisive comeback, record holder Miki Sudou defeated 40 mare and a bun to win the women’s title after skipping a candid festival last year because she is pregnant.
Monday also saw the contest return to its traditional location outside of Nathan’s flagship store in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood. The event moved in 2020 and last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s nice to be back here” in front of a crowd of spectators, Chestnut told ESPN after his achievement, which the 38-year-old succeeded while wearing surgical shoes for a leg injury.
“It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little while. I was shrugging it off, but the pain eventually slowed down its pace in the 10-minute competition,” Chestnut said.
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Last year, residents of Westfield, Indiana, surpassed his record by consuming 76 bread and cookies.
Sudo, of Tampa, Florida, set the women’s record at 48 1/2 Winners and Cakes in 2020, before taking off last year while she was expecting. She and Nick Wehrey – a fellow eater she met through the Nathan Contest in 2018 – welcomed son Max on July 8, 2021.
In his father’s arms, the kid watched his 36-year-old mother take her eighth win at Nathan. She then told ESPN that she hopes to take a message from her one day.
She said, “I want to set an example, do the things you love and push yourself to your absolute limits, and when the going gets tough, you still give it a try. And you know, you might come out victorious.”
Sudou then took over the parenting duties while Wiri tried to get the men’s title.
In conjunction with the show, Nathan’s donated 100,000 francs to the Food Bank in New York City.