No better way to spend July Fourth.
Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at Coney Island
Saturday was the Fourth of July! For some that means fireworks. For others that means barbecues. For others that means marching in a band and joining the parade! But for me, the Fourth of July only means one thing: The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island!
The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island
Since the eating contest started airing on ESPN in 2003, I would be glued to my television every Fourth of July. It was my favorite part of the holiday and, last year, Nadia and I went to New York to see it in person!
Unfortunately Nad 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 Island 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 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 two blogs 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 provided a great distraction while passing the time. 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.
The competitive eaters 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!
More photos from the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island
Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest After Parties
After the competition I headed over to Ruby’s where the eaters congregate after the contest. It was fun to catch up with the people I have met and I really do find it funny when I have conversations that go like:
Me: “Hi I’m Val.”
Eater: “Wait, Val Bromann?”
I’m supposed to be following you, not the other way around! 🙂
After drinking some beers that were just handed to me, I headed back to the hotel, grabbed a pizza and Advil because by this point I had had almost nothing to eat, no caffeine and had a splitting headache. I ended up watching a few old contests on ESPN classic and then headed out to a bar for the after party.
The after party was tons of fun and I have to admit the fan girl in me was totally excited that I was sitting at a table in a bar with Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut. Totally. Joey’s friend kept buying me drinks. Like, a lot of them. I know I had bought myself at least three. And I think he bought me at least three and two shots. I lost count. So I kind of felt bad when I ditched him to leave with Tim and his friends to go get food. But only kind of.
At maybe 2am or so we ended up going to get crepes at some crepe place. I had a smore crepe but…remember how I had like a million drinks? And remember how all I had had to eat was a piece of pizza? And remember how I have said countless times that I can’t handle my alcohol? Well, I may have ended up throwing up in a garbage can outside. I figured though that it was OK. I mean Tim’s a competitive eater so he’s pretty much used to vomit… Right? Anyways, after feeling like a totally lame girl we went and ate hot dogs, because apparently a person who ate 30 hot dogs earlier in the day still feels the need for more later in the night!
And then they dropped me off at my hotel.
And then I passed out.
And that was my Fourth of July.
And it kind of rocked.