Although I missed it last year because of my epic road trip, I have been to 8 of the last 9 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contests. 4th of July to me is hot dog eating at Coney Island. In that time I have become friends with some of the contestants and now have a pretty good hook up to Major League Eating events so I got my press pass and headed down to shoot the madness. I took A LOT of photos and the media riser is so far away that all the shots sort of look the same but you should flip through them anyway. There are also a bunch of nice shots at the end of contestants after the event. So let’s get to the important stuff.
The women’s competition was won by Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas a 100lb woman who has been dominating all other women and most of the men in competitive eating events for as long as I can remember. She is turning 45 this year and was determined to eat her age. She succeeded and in the process beat her own female world record by 4 hot dogs. She is amazing and she also happens to be from my hometown of Alexandria, VA so there are a LOT of pictures of her in the gallery.
The men’s competition was won by Joey Chestnut of course. The American champion has now won six years in a row and won by nearly 20 dogs. He ate 68 in ten minutes to tie his own world record that he set in 2009. The only other eater in the world that could touch him, Takeru Kobayashi, has not competed the last three years after a contract dispute with the MLE. Kobayashi staged his own event at the exact same time and ate 58.5 hot dogs. Even if he had beaten Chestnut it wouldn’t have mattered since it was unsanctioned and done in different weather with different hot dogs. America wins again!
New York hero Tim “Eater X” Janus and Chicago favorite Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti came in second and third, as they almost always, do but it was Matt Stonie who impressed the most eating 46 hot dogs at only 19 years old. The long haired, skinny jean wearing Californian came in 4th and is set to become a super star in the world’s most important non-football sport.
After the eating at Coney Island “Crazy Legs” Conti threw an after party in the East Village. I showed up and took some pictures which I am going to post about twenty minutes from now so come back for that…