Joey Chestnut nearly tops Nathan’s winner in half the time at separate event

Joey Chestnut wasn’t in the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest this year, but he still spent his Fourth of July chowing down dozens of dogs.

The 16-time Nathan’s champ defeated a group of four Army soldiers in a hot dog eating contest at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday. He topped the group of soldiers by eating 57 hot dogs in five minutes, eight more than the soldiers ate combined (49). 

Chestnut also nearly out-ate the new Nathan’s champion in half the time, adding another impressive mark to his résumé. Patrick Bertoletti downed 58 hot dogs at Thursday’s event on Coney Island. However, the new champ had 10 minutes to reach that total, twice as long as Chestnut’s event.

Prior to this year, Chestnut had won 16 of the past 17 Nathan’s hot dog eating contests. But he wasn’t allowed the opportunity to win his 17th title at the event this year. He was banned from the event by Major League Eating (MLE) due to his partnership with Impossible Foods, which uses plant-based meat substitutes.

MLE said it rescinded the ban, but Chestnut received interest to participate in a different hot dog eating contest on July 4. The Fort Bliss event was live-streamed on Chestnut’s YouTube channel and included a Q&A after the contest. 

Chestnut’s absence at the Nathan’s contest loomed large over the event. He had been a heavy favorite to win the title each year for quite some time, holding -4000 odds in 2023. He ate 62 hot dogs to win the event last year, his eighth straight title. Two years earlier, he broke the world record by eating 76 hot dogs in the Nathan’s contest.

While Chestnut might not have received the usual spotlight he gets each Independence Day, he’ll have an opportunity to shine on Labor Day when he takes on Takeru Kobayashi in a hot dog contest on Netflix. 

Kobayashi was on his own dynastic run of titles at Nathan’s before Chestnut’s emergence. He won five straight Nathan’s titles from 2001-06 before Chestnut defeated him in 2007. The duo had an untimed eat-off in 2008 after downing the same number of dogs through 10 minutes, which Chestnut won. Chestnut won again in 2009, which was the last time Kobayashi competed against the 16-time Nathan’s winner. The duel resumes on Labor Day.


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