Joey Chestnut won his 14th Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in dominant fashion on Sunday, devouring a new record 76 franks in 10 minutes to keep his mantle atop the sport.
“It just felt good,” Chestnut, of Westfield, Indiana, said in an ESPN interview after his win Sunday. “Even if I was uncomfortable, having everybody cheer me and push me, it made me feel good.”
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Chestnut, who goes by "Jaws," put on another eating clinic to claim the Mustard Belt, out-eating second-place finisher Geoffrey Esper (50). Chesnut has now won 14 of the last 15 hot dog eating contests since taking down six-time defending champion Takeru Kobayashi in 2007, with his only loss in 2015 to Matt Stonie.
In his storied career at the annual Independence Day event, Chestnut has now eaten a record 1,089 hot dogs. On Sunday, Chestnut came out ready and was on record pace, downing 30 hot dogs in three minutes.
The annual Fourth of July frankfurter fest normally happens outside Nathan’s flagship shop in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighborhood. But this year’s planning took place amid shifting coronavirus restrictions, and the event was held in a nearby minor league baseball stadium, Maimonides Park, with 5,000 spectators.
It's become a regularity for Chestnut to not necessarily battle himself, but his own world records from previous years' competitions.
“This is what I love. I love eating in front of people and they love pushing me,” Chestnut said on ESPN prior to the contest. “I’m just a guy that eats hot dogs and have fun. I’m just so happy to be doing this.”
The 37-year-old Chestnut continues to find an inner drive, having set a world record of 75 hot dogs last year with zero fans in attendance at a private COVID-19-friendly location. He told the Boston Globe in 2012: "This sport isn't about eating. It's about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day, hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind."
On the women's side, Michelle Lesco won the competition with 30¾ hot dogs in 10 minutes. Reigning champion Miki Sudo sat out this year because she is pregnant.
Lesco, of Tucson, Arizona, called her win “an amazing feeling.”
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Joey Chestnut wins 14th hot dog contest with record 76 franks