Call it the hot dog days of summer!
The athletics of excess were on full display in Coney Island on July 4, where professional pork gobblers gathered for the Olympics of competitive eating — Nathan’s Famous Hog Dog Eating Contest!
The widely televised event is enjoyed annually by thousands in the air-conditioned comfort of their homes, but there’s nothing like seeing a world-class feeding frenzy up close and personal, according to one first-timer.
“I’ve seen it on TV, but this was my first time going to Coney and actually seeing it,” said Jose Castillo, who traveled from Gravesend with his wife Juana Castillo for the show. “You can really feel the vibe!”
The rules of the contest allow each eater 10 minutes to gorge themselves on the pork purveyor’s famed frankfurters, dunking their dogs in water, while hopping up and down to force the food down the gullets.
In the men’s division, legendary eater Joey Chestnut scarfed down a whopping 71 dogs to net his 12th title, beating runner-up Darren Breeden’s 48, and third place contender Geoffrey Esper’s 46 frankfurters.
Chestnut — who trains his stomach by drinking vast amounts of milk, water, and protein supplements — sadly failed to overcome the record-setting 74 hot dogs and buns he devoured in 2018.
For the women, Miki Sudo nabbed her sixth Mustard Belt after consuming 31 dogs.
Nathan’s claims the origins of their world-renowned eating contest can be traced to a July 4, 1916, bout between four immigrants who decided to measure their patriotism by — what else — seeing who could eat the most hot dogs.
If true, that would make this year’s contest Nathan’s 103rd annual eating bout.