Food / Pop Culture / Reality Television

The Big Eat in the Coney Island Heat! The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest – July 4, 2017

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest – July 4, 2017 – Photo © 2017 Mark Doyle.

The Big Eat in the Coney Island Heat!

The annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest – July 4, 2017

I have begun to look at the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest – held every July 4th in Coney Island USA – as sort of a small pilgrimage over the last few years.  It begins as I jump on the less than reliable NYC subway and head to the last stop on the D train. As I get off to obtain my media pass I am greeted by a sea of folks, donned with yellow hot dog hats jammed directly across from a stage set up alongside the historic Nathan Famous eatery.

This event, which is carried on ESPN every year, is seen as kind of the Daytona 500 of competitive eating, at least, that how I have seen it. It’s hot, it’s crowded, and things move quickly. Well maybe not as quick as Nascar but hey, I doubt Danica Patrick can eat as many hotdogs in 10 minutes as the Black Widow.  Now that is fast.

This event kicks off the summer season, and more importantly, it’s been a mainstay during the rejuvenation of Coney Island over the past few years.

The ladies kicked things off first with reigning champ Miki Sudo, who ate… more appropriately swallowed… 41 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to win her fourth straight title. Michelle Lesco, who devoured 32 franks and buns and looked to me like some may be coming back up, was able to hold on until the end. Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas came in third chopping and swallowing 30.

On the men’s side all eyes were on nine-time champ Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who has absolutely destroyed the ‘furters for years. 2017 was no exception as he downed 72 in 10 minutes leading to his 10th consecutive title. As dogs, buns and water made a poetry splash; Joey just kept going seemingly a man possessed as he had a small lead with just less than four minutes left in the wiener war.

Things did get tighter in the last two minutes, but Chestnut proved why he’s king dog. Carmen Cincotti who ate 62 was a human PacMan chopping right behind and finishing a very respectable second. Matt Stonie dropped to third engulfing just 48.

Mark Doyle

Click on thumbnails to see full-sized pictures!

Copyright ©2017 All rights reserved. Posted: July 3, 2017.

Photos © 2017 Mark Doyle. All rights reserved.

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