Closing Bell: Nathan’s July 4 Wiener-Eating Contest Returns to Coney Island

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    You could call it Brooklyn’s premiere annual athletic competition — depending on how far you’re willing to stretch the definition of “athlete.”

    It’s the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, where fields of male and female competitive eaters vie to down the biggest pile of dogs in a 10-minute frankfurter frenzy. Some 20 eaters will go head-to-head in each division, drawn from qualifying events held around the country.

    The favorite once again this year is Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who’ll be going for his ninth straight title, and attempting to beat his all-time record of 69 dogs, set in 2013. The returning women’s champ, Miko Sudo, won last year with 34.

    Legend has it that the tradition started in Coney Island in 1916, when four immigrants held an impromptu contest at Nathan’s to put to rest an argument about who was the most patriotic. Legend should not, in this case, be confused with actual truth, but it’s a fact that the contest dates back at least to 1972, when Brooklyn college student Jason Schecter won by downing 14 dogs in a three and a half minute stretch.

    Festivities begin at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island at 10 a.m., with the women competitors introduced at 11 a.m., followed by the men at 12:30. The main event will be live broadcast on ESPN2.

    Photo via Nathan’s Famous

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