A gut-busting contest timeline

The history of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is the history of America. First won by an Irish immigrant in 1913, the contest became an American tradition — until the Japanese began a decade-long domination of the event. Here are the highlights in from nearly 100 years of gut-busting competition.


James Mullin

13 hot dogs and buns

The inaugural contest was held after two immigrants sought to prove which was “more American” by eating the ultimate American food.


Frank Dellarosa

21 HDBs*

“Twenty-one in ’91” became a summer catchphrase.


Ed “The Maspeth Monster” Krachie

19-1/2 HDBs

Krachie begins his two-year reign.


Hirofumi “The Tokyo Terror” Nakajima

24-1/2 HDBs*

The beginning of the “Rising Sun” era.


Takeru “The Tsnumai” Kobayashi

50 HDBs*

Doubled the existing record, beginning a six-year reign.


Joey “Jaws” Chestnut

66 HDBs*

The belt returns to America, where it remains.


Joey “Jaws” Chestnut

59 HDBs#

After tying in regulation, Chestnut beats Kobayshi in a five-minute runoff.


Joey “Jaws” Chestnut

54 HDBs#

Chestnut wins for fourth straight time — but Kobayashi did not compete (and was, in fact, arrested for trespassing).

* Set new world record.

# Contest now at 10 minutes