Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut wins his 12th Nathan’s Famous July 4th hot dog eating contest

Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan’s Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday – just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year.

In front of a packed crowd on the Coney Island boardwalk and facing 17 opponents, the California native far exceeded his nearest competitors, but didn’t quite make or pass the 74-dog mark he reached in 2018.

After winning his fourth consecutive title, Chestnut told reporters: ‘I feel like I should eat a couple more.’

Miki Sudo had already won the women’s competition by chomping down 31 hot dogs. She said she felt ‘wonderful’ as she walked off the stage.

The 33-year-old fell short of her total last year of 37 frankfurters but earned her sixth consecutive title by easily beating runner-up Michelle Lesco, who wolfed down 26 hot dogs. 

Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan's Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday, just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year

Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan's Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday, just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year

Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan’s Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday, just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year

In front of a packed crowd on the Coney Island boardwalk and facing 17 opponents, the California native far exceeded his nearest competitors, but didn't quite make or pass the 74-dog mark he reached in 2018. After winning his fourth consecutive title, Chestnut told reporters: 'I feel like I should eat a couple more'

In front of a packed crowd on the Coney Island boardwalk and facing 17 opponents, the California native far exceeded his nearest competitors, but didn't quite make or pass the 74-dog mark he reached in 2018. After winning his fourth consecutive title, Chestnut told reporters: 'I feel like I should eat a couple more'

In front of a packed crowd on the Coney Island boardwalk and facing 17 opponents, the California native far exceeded his nearest competitors, but didn’t quite make or pass the 74-dog mark he reached in 2018. After winning his fourth consecutive title, Chestnut told reporters: ‘I feel like I should eat a couple more’

Miki Sudo celebrates after winning the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn

Miki Sudo celebrates after winning the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn

Joey Chestnut raises his trophy and belt after winning the men's competition

Joey Chestnut raises his trophy and belt after winning the men's competition

(Left) Miki Sudo celebrates after winning the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn. (Right) Joey Chestnut raises his trophy and belt after winning the men’s competition

Joey Chestnut reacts after he wins the annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019

Joey Chestnut reacts after he wins the annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019

Joey Chestnut reacts after he wins the annual Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019

Joey Chestnut eats the buns and dogs separately after dipping them in water

Joey Chestnut eats the buns and dogs separately after dipping them in water

Joey Chestnut eats the buns and dogs separately after dipping them in water

Amber Castillo, 6, attends Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest in Brooklyn

Amber Castillo, 6, attends Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest in Brooklyn

Amber Castillo, 6, attends Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest in Brooklyn 

Sonya ‘The Black Widow’ Thomas holds the all-time women’s record of 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Thursday’s top five winners of each gender split $40,000, while he two first-place winners will each earn $10,000. 

Thousands gather to watch the spectacle every year, with millions more tuning in on ESPN. Spectators with foam hot dog hats, plastic noisemakers and homemade signs descended on Coney Island’s famed boardwalk for the contest.

CHESTNUT ECLIPSES RUSSELL, RICHARD WITH 12 TITLES  

  • NFL: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, six Super Bowl victories
  • NBA: Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, 11 NBA titles
  • NHL: Montreal Canadiens right wing Maurice Richard, 11 Stanley Cup wins
  • MLB: New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, 10 World Series wins
  • Competitive eating: Joe Chestnut, 13 Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest titles  

The annual eat-off started in 1972, though the company has long promoted the event with a theatrical backstory that places its start date in 1916.

With 12 Nathan’s titles, Chestnut now has more championship victories than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (six Super Bowl wins), Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell (11 NBA titles), Montreal Canadiens icon Maurice Richard (11 Stanley Cup titles) and New York Yankees great Yogi Berra (10 World Series wins). 

According to Darren Rovell of the Action Network, 71 hot dogs contain about 20,590 calories, 1,172 grams grams of fat, 2,130 milligrams of cholesterol and just 781 grams or protein. 

Before the event, Chestnut told ESPN that he drank some water, coffee, and lemon juice to prepare for the contest. 

He also holds competitive eating records for Hostess Donettes (257 in six minutes), ice cream sandwiches (25.5 in six minutes), Mutton sandwiches (81 in 10 minutes), Shrimp, (seven pounds in eight minutes), and shrimp cocktails (18 pounds, 9.6 ounces in eight minutes).

A fan shares an insightful message before Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest

A fan shares an insightful message before Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest

A fan shares an insightful message before Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest

Brooklynites celebrated American independence by watching Chestnut win his 12th title

Brooklynites celebrated American independence by watching Chestnut win his 12th title

Brooklynites celebrated American independence by watching Chestnut win his 12th title 

Miki Sudo reacts after receiving her trophy and belt for winning the women's competition of Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest

Miki Sudo reacts after receiving her trophy and belt for winning the women's competition of Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest

Miki Sudo reacts after receiving her trophy and belt for winning the women’s competition of Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest

Fans of hot dogs and competitive eating gather along the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn

Fans of hot dogs and competitive eating gather along the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn

Fans of hot dogs and competitive eating gather along the Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn 

Master of ceremony George Shea attends the hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019 in New York City. Nathan's held its first hot dog eating contest in Coney Island on July 4, 1916

Master of ceremony George Shea attends the hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019 in New York City. Nathan's held its first hot dog eating contest in Coney Island on July 4, 1916

Master of ceremony George Shea attends the hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019 in New York City. Nathan’s held its first hot dog eating contest in Coney Island on July 4, 1916

Juliet Lee, left, and Miki Sudo, right, compete in the women's competition of Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest. Sudo won her sixth consecutive title Thursday

Juliet Lee, left, and Miki Sudo, right, compete in the women's competition of Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest. Sudo won her sixth consecutive title Thursday

Juliet Lee, left, and Miki Sudo, right, compete in the women’s competition of Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest. Sudo won her sixth consecutive title Thursday 

General view of the stage before the women's hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019

General view of the stage before the women's hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019

General view of the stage before the women’s hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2019

In front of a crowd of fans and facing 17 opponents, Joe Chestnut, a California native, came close but didn't manage to beat his own record of 74 dogs, set last year

In front of a crowd of fans and facing 17 opponents, Joe Chestnut, a California native, came close but didn't manage to beat his own record of 74 dogs, set last year

In front of a crowd of fans and facing 17 opponents, Joe Chestnut, a California native, came close but didn’t manage to beat his own record of 74 dogs, set last year

Fans wear themed foam hats as they attend the 2019 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Fans wear themed foam hats as they attend the 2019 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Fans wear themed foam hats as they attend the 2019 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

The 35-year-old Chestnut said Wednesday that he’ll ‘find a rhythm and do what it takes’ to win the event again, and that turned out to be true. 

The 33-year-old Sudo fell short of her total last year of 37 frankfurters but earned her sixth consecutive title by easily beating runner-up Michelle Lesco, who wolfed down 26 hot dogs.

NATHAN’S FAMOUS HOT DOGS CONTAIN:

Beef, water, contains less than 2 percent of salt, sorbitol, sodium lactate, natural flavorings, sodium phosphate, hydrolyzed corn protein, paprika, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, according to Instacart.com.  

By eating 71 hot dogs, Joey Chestnut consumed 20,590 calories, 1,172 grams grams of fat, 2,130 milligrams of cholesterol and just 781 grams or protein, according to Darren Rovell of The Action Network. 

Sonya ‘The Black Widow’ Thomas holds the all-time women’s record of 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Spectators with foam hot dog hats, plastic noisemakers and homemade signs descended on Coney Island’s famed boardwalk for the contest.

‘I’m super grateful for everybody who came out here to support,’ Sudo said.

Chestnut joined other competitors at the Empire State Building for the weigh-in for Thursday’s contest.

Chestnut weighed in at 216.5 pounds (98 kilograms), while defending women’s champion Miki Sudo weighed 114 pounds (52 kilograms). 

Chestnut has only lost once since 2007, when he pulled ahead of longtime foe Takeru Kobayashi for the first time. An ESPN documentary released Tuesday features the two former rivals and their extreme training regimens.

“It’s not something that there’s books written about,” Chestnut says in the film, which shows him lifting his head up and down with a weight dangling from his mouth. “There’s not trainers. Everything’s trial and error.”

Kobayashi no longer takes part in the contest.

‘The Good, The Bad, The Hungry‘ director Nicole Lucas explained the origins of the documentary with The Washington Post

‘I’m a person who’s really fascinated with niche activities and obsessive persons, having some of those in my own life,’ Haimes said. ‘I was really interested in what’s making these competitors tick.’ 

Miko Sudo competes during the women's division of the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hog Dog Eating contest. She won her sixth title by eating 31 franks

Miko Sudo competes during the women's division of the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hog Dog Eating contest. She won her sixth title by eating 31 franks

Miko Sudo competes during the women’s division of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hog Dog Eating contest. She won her sixth title by eating 31 franks 

Competitive eater Michelle Lesco competes during the women's division contest

Competitive eater Michelle Lesco competes during the women's division contest

Competitive eater Michelle Lesco competes during the women’s division contest 

People gather on the Coney Island beach for the Independence Day holiday in Brooklyn

People gather on the Coney Island beach for the Independence Day holiday in Brooklyn

People gather on the Coney Island beach for the Independence Day holiday in Brooklyn

A New York City police officer stand guard before the hot dog eating contest on July 4, 201

A New York City police officer stand guard before the hot dog eating contest on July 4, 201

A New York City police officer stand guard before the hot dog eating contest on July 4, 201

The documentary focuses on three people: Kobayashi, Chestnut, and George Shea, the man who, along with his brother, Rich, turned the Nathan’s Famous contest into a major ESPN event.

In particular, the film shows how the sport evolved as Kobayashi gave way to Chestnut, who had the support of the American audience.  

‘Kobayashi was the man,’ Chestnut said in the documentary. ‘The other competitive eaters, they thought of him as unbeatable . . . He wasn’t an eater. He was a god.’ 

At one point in the documentary, Chestnut is seen beating Kobayashi in 2007 as onlookers scream ‘Go home, Shanghai boy!’ and ‘Go home, kamikaze!’

‘We have our confidence back!’ Shea yelled after Chestnut’s win. ‘The dark days of the last six years are behind us!’ 

A stunned Kobayashi is then seen in a post-match interview with tears in his eyes. 

‘I was shocked,’ he said. ‘They used to cheer for me, and I started to feel I wasn’t welcome in America anymore.’ 

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