Legendary competitive eater Joey Chestnut has romped to victory at America’s top hot dog eating contest – after several hours of rain delays dampened the Fourth of July celebrations.
Organizers of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest were faced with cancelling the men’s event for the first time in over five decades when torrential rains swept through the Big Apple at around midday Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, women’s champion Miki Sudo, 38, cruised to her ninth title at the event, steaming ahead of the pack with 39.5 hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes.
The event was put on ice for several hours due to thunderstorms, but organizers were able to get back up and running in time for 15-time reigning champ Joey Chestnut to take to the stage.
His tally of 62 was not enough to beat his world record of 76 hot dogs wolfed down in 10 minutes, while women’s champion Sudo holds the female record with 48.5.
Legendary competitive eater Joey Chestnut cruised to victory for the 16th time
Miki Sudo won the women’s title earlier in the day as she captured her ninth victory
The event was put on pause for hours as inclement weather rolled through the Big Apple
Over 30,000 people descended on Coney Island in New York to celebrate July 4th, but the festivities were paused when dark clouds rolled in at around midday.
After the event was halted due to storms, an attendee claimed the reigning champion announced: ‘I’m gonna get the rest of the guys out and we’re gonna do this f***er’.
But despite fears the iconic event had been canceled, it was later given the go-ahead to begin at 2pm (EST).
The hot dog eating showdown has taken place every year in Coney Island, near Brooklyn, New York for over five decades.
Seen as one of the premier eating contests in America, it has been organized by the Major League Eating (MLE) organization since 1997.
Taking to the stage this year included a fleet of past champions and special invitees from around the world, while others were able to qualify though preliminary contests.
The winner receives $10,000, while second place gets $5,000 and third place gets $2,500. The men’s and women’s winners also land a huge, bedazzled wrestling-style belt.
The annual event is a hallmark of the competitive eating scene every year, with the contest even held behind closed doors in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The July Fourth celebrations were washed out by inclement weather earlier in the day
The face stuffing showdown saw contestants eat as many hot dogs as possible in just 10 minutes
Torrential rains and thunderstorms brought the festivities to a screeching halt at around midday
The rain didn’t dampen everyone’s Fourth of July spirits at the competition
Adoring fans of Joey Chestnut hold up a sign with his face as dark clouds gathered at the event
Thunderstorms washed out the festivities shortly before the men’s contest began
Attendees were seen rushing to take cover as the heavens opened above Coney Island
Sudo won handily in the women’s contest this year, eating six more hot dogs than her nearest competitor Mayoi Ebihara.
The podium was rounded off by Michelle Lesco, who took third with 24.25 hot dogs eaten.
Lesco previously revealed to the Washington Post that while larger frames may seem like the ideal body type for the sport, many smaller competitors actually find success.
Among the women’s field, just six competitors were able to break the barrier of eating 10 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
After her victory, Sudo said: ’39 is a low number, I’m sorry you guys! I would not have left a partial hot dog on the table.’
Ahead of her historic win, Sudo revealed to DailyMail.com the insider tips and tricks that help her raze through mounds of food in minutes.
The sun was out earlier in the day as thousands flocked to Coney Island for the contest
Sudo won the women’s competition by eating 39.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes
Runner up Mayoi Ehibara put up a stern effort but fell short of victory by six hot dogs
Competitive eater Michelle Lesco pictured on her way to winning third place at the contest
The women’s event saw six competitors break the 10 hot dogs in 10 minutes barrier
The annual competition sees contestants given 10 minutes to ingest as many Nathan’s Famous hot dogs in buns as possible.
Other rules placed on competitors to start the day include the permitting of any beverages to help aid the hot dogs on the way down.
Each competitor is given their own judge, and a live score is running throughout the race while packed crowds are sent into a frenzy.
Condiments are also allowed, but unsurprisingly most contestants opt not to bother.
Although the players are often covered in hot dogs and beverages by the end of the 10 minutes, judges are able to hand down penalty cards for messy eating.
If there is a tie at the end of the day, the eaters are forced to get more hot dogs down to win as the contest goes to a sudden death eat-off.
The annual event draws a huge crowd as revelers flock to see the quickest eaters in the world
Frenzied spectators readying to party ahead of the contest on July 4, 2023
The 2023 Championship belts rest on a table during a weigh-in ceremony before the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest
Condiments are also allowed, but unsurprisingly most contestants opt not to bother
Over 30,000 people were expected to attend the annual festivities
Revelers dressed as hot dogs standing in anticipation before the contest begins
Many in the crowd were hoping to catch a glimpse of Joey Chestnut romping to his historic sixteenth victory at the contest.
The 39-year-old, from Westfield, Indiana, won the Fourth of July competition for a fifteenth time in 2022 when he devoured 63 dogs in 10 minutes.
Ever since he burst onto the scene by beating legendary eater Rich LeFevre in 2005 at a deep-fried asparagus eating championship, Chestnut has dominated the sport.
He has set 55 world records in food-related contests throughout his illustrious career, including eating 141 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes and 32 Big Mac sandwiches in 38 minutes.
Chestnut has landed a series of sponsorship deals to go along with his prize money, as he has become one of the most successful competitive eaters of all time.
Last year, he told USA TODAY Sports he earned more than $500,000 and his net worth exceeds $4 million.
Featuring on this year’s lineup alongside Joey Chestnut is women’s champion Miki Sudo, 38, who captured her ninth title.
Reigning champion Joey Chestnut pictured backstage as the contest was delayed
Joey Chestnut was the heavy favorite this year thanks to his reputation as one of the greatest competitive eaters of all time
Chestnut is pictured with 2022 women’s champion Miki Sudo at the opening ceremony
Chestnut (left) pictured against rival eater Nick Wehry (right) at the contest’s opening ceremony on July 3, 2023
Sudo, who captured her ninth title at this year’s contest
The two World Champions face off during the weigh-in ceremony
Joey Chestnut (left) and Miki Sudo (right) are the favorites to win this year
This year’s contest was greeted by an opening ceremony and weigh-in for the competitors, where Chestnut and Sudo faced off to build hype for the event.
Ahead of her bid for a ninth title, Sudo revealed to DailyMail.com how she planned overcome the competition.
She currently holds the world record for the most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes, with 48.5 which she set in 2020.
I feel really calm. I feel better than any year before. I’ve done a few practices, but more importantly, I just feel like I’m in a really good place,’ Miki, who is ranked third overall in Major League Eating, said.
‘[I’ve] been really mindful of what I’ve been eating, how I’ve been resting… spent some time in the gym.
‘I’ve gone back and watched some footage and I think I’ve tweaked a few things to have a really strong performance this year.
‘So, it’s just 11 days to go, I think I’m going to try to do one more practice or do a half practice just to really get that technique dialed in and… it should be a high performance, a high number this year.’