Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is held every year on July 4 at Nathan's Famous Corporation's original, and best-known restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, a neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The contest is so popular that is beamed live on ESPN and estimated to be watched by 1.949 million viewers in addition to the 40,000 or so spectators that assemble at the ground in person.
The contest has gained public attention in recent years due to the sudden stardom of Takeru Kobayashi, his subsequent rivalry with American Joey Chestnut, and the current controversy over Kabayashi's contractual dispute and absence. In the ninety-sixth annual contest, held on July 4, 2011, four-time-defending champion Chestnut won his fifth title by consuming 62 hot dogs and buns in ten minutes.
Kobayashi, who has been banned from the contest due to a contract dispute with Major League Eating, competed from afar: on the roof of a Manhattan bar, in unison with Chestnut and his fellow competitors. Kobayashi polished off 69 hot dogs proving that he is still the best, but officials will not recognize Kobayashi's feat.
Chestnut remains the official champion, and he will share his official title with Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, who devoured 40 hot dogs and buns to beat eight other eaters in the first women's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Both Chestnut and Thomas were awarded $10,000.
Champion Joey Chestnut ploughed through 62 wieners and buns in 10 minutes, falling short of his personal best of 68.
Juliet Lee (L) and Sonya Thomas compete in the Women's 2011 Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Lee at 29 hot dogs to finish a distant second behind Thomas.
Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti wolfed down 53 hot dogs in 10 minutes but finished second behind champ Joey Chestnut.
Story: CNN, Photos: Ramin Talaie / GETTY IMAGES, Allison Joyce / REUTERS.
Subscribe to our Newsletter and get articles like this delieverd straight to your inbox