Sixty-six hot dogs? Holy smokes! America wins!!!

Or, I think… I think the world wins, actually.
The Field of Dreams: Heroes are made here. And hot dogs are eaten. And hot dogs are eaten. And hot dogs are eaten. (photo by wallyg on Flickr)
The Field of Dreams: Heroes are made here. And hot dogs are eaten. And hot dogs are eaten. And hot dogs are eaten. (photo by wallyg on Flickr)

At any rate, the American Joey Chestnut has finally toppled the Godzilla of Gluttony, Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, from the greasy throne of the world-champion competitive hot dog eater.

Kobayashi has dominated this sport of kings since 2001, until a qualifying match last month, when San Jose native Joey Chestnut downed 59.5 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes, solidly topping Kobayashi’s previous record of 53.75.

After several weeks during which Kobayashi’s website claimed that the athlete was suffering from a recently-extracted wisdom tooth, the contenders have now met at “Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest” in Coney Island. While Chestnut pulled out to an early lead, he was never more than three hot dogs ahead of Kobayashi, and in the last several minutes of the race Kobayashi made a valiant effort to finish in a tie. After 12 minutes, both contestants appeared to have eaten 63 hot dogs, but after comparing scraps left on the plate, and food still in the mouth (and able to be swallowed) at the buzzer, it was determined that Joey Chestnut had eaten… 66 hot dogs. Whoa.
Here’s some perspective on 66 hot dogs:

    66 Hot Dogs (minus buns)

  • 396 inches of hot dog
  • 3.43 kg, or 7.54 lbs
  • Contains meat from:
    1. cows
    2. pigs
    3. chickens
    4. other hot dogs
  • Exactly 66 times greasier than a single hot dog
  • More hot dogs than the entire state of Idaho will eat all year

And, again, this is all without the buns. The buns (66) alone could have been used to construct a very awesome fort. Now that fort is in Joey Chestnut’s tummy. I would live in that fort.

The Body of a Competitive Eater

Takeru Kobayashi began his career in sports as a 5’ 7”, 110-pounder. He is currently hovering around 196 pounds (although his height has remained the same), and claims to be under 10 percent body fat. According to some, slender men and women often make excellent competitive eaters due to a lack of a “fat belt,” which restricts the elasticity of the stomach. Joey Chestnut is 6’ 3” tall, and around 220 pounds, and apparently controls the elasticity of his stomach through pure will power.

Stomach elasticity is credited as the key to dominance in competitive eating, and “competitors commonly train by drinking large amounts of water over a short time to stretch out the stomach.” The International Federation of Competitive Eating - and I - strongly discourage this method. Because it can kill you. In fact, the International Federation of Competitive Eating discourages training of any sorts.

Why competitive eating is only for professionals like Chestnut and Kobayashi

Like many of our more glorious sports (e.g. NASCAR, lawn darts, snake-handling, etc.), competitive eating is certainly not without its risks. Obesity and diabetes are, of course, associated with chronic overeating (although restricting caloric intake while not competing may allow competitors to remain healthy in this respect). Also, many physicians worry that stretching the stomach can reduce its ability to function. Vomiting –a disqualifying action, which it, you know, sometimes just happens – can lead to esophageal tearing and infection, and, obviously, simple choking is a serious consideration.

So, people, always remember to eat safely and responsibly. And, this Fourth of July weekend, take a moment to think of one of our country’s newest heroes: Joey Chestnut.

PS – Civilizations of the future are going to think we were so cool.

”The majors”

Some things to learn about hot dogs. Nutritionally.

Competitive eating

The straight story

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