Competitive Eaters Gorge At Annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest: The Agony and Ecstasy

A Fourth of July tradition that's not for the faint of stomach.

Since 1972, thousands of curious onlookers have gathered at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, New York to witness the gastronomical feat known as the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Eating's elite gather each year to see how many hot dogs they can stomach in 10 minutes. Here, scenes from this year's record-breaking competition on July 4. (Above: Defending champion Joey Chestnut)

SETTING THE STAGE Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images SETTING THE STAGE Dozens of hot dogs are laid out in anticipation of the big event. Contest rules stipulate that both the bun and the frankfurter must be consumed in order to get the point. Many competitors dunk their buns in glasses of water to make them easier to consume. DRESSING FOR THE OCCASION Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images DRESSING FOR THE OCCASION Some 40,000 fans gather annually at the Nathan's stand to witness the gluttony.

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PATRIOTIC DUTY Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images PATRIOTIC DUTY DEFENDING HER TITLE Steven Ferdman/WireImage DEFENDING HER TITLE The women were up first, with last year's champion, Miki Sudo, on the hunt for her fifth belt. The Las Vegas resident faced formidable competitors such as ... ...Michelle &quot;Cardboard Shell&quot; Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona.... Steven Ferdman/WireImage ...Michelle "Cardboard Shell" Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona.... ...and &quot;The Lovely&quot; Juliet Lee from Washington, D.C., who <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dc-sports-bog/wp/2017/06/26/small-but-mighty-germantown-salon-owner-juliet-lee-hungry-for-hot-dog-eating-title/?utm_term=.cc49abb0caef" target="_blank">reportedly</a> dips her hot dogs in hot tea rather than water, claiming it breaks down in her system faster. Steven Ferdman/WireImage ...and "The Lovely" Juliet Lee from Washington, D.C., who reportedly dips her hot dogs in hot tea rather than water, claiming it breaks down in her system faster. VICTORIOUS Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images VICTORIOUS Sudo ultimately prevailed, downing 37 hot dogs to easily beat out Lesco's 28. A LEGEND Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images A LEGEND Next up were the men, with 10-time winner Joey "Jaws" Chestnut of San Jose, California, the favorite to repeat. He went hot dog–to–hot dog with a field of 20, including... ...Matt &quot;Megatoad&quot; Stonie, also of San Jose, California, who ended Chestnut&#39;s 8-year winning streak at Nathan&#39;s in 2015... Steven Ferdman/WireImage ...Matt "Megatoad" Stonie, also of San Jose, California, who ended Chestnut's 8-year winning streak at Nathan's in 2015... ...as well as Nathan&#39;s newcomer Max Suzuki of Japan. Steven Ferdman/WireImage ...as well as Nathan's newcomer Max Suzuki of Japan. HE DOES IT AGAIN! Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images HE DOES IT AGAIN! Not only did Chestnut successfully defend his title, but he set a new record, devouring 74 hot dogs in just 10 minutes — and beating his old record by two dogs. Ouch! BOOSTING HIS 11TH MUSTARD BELT Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images BOOSTING HIS 11TH MUSTARD BELT SEE YOU NEXT YEAR! Steven Ferdman/WireImage SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!



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