Joey Chestnut is the champion of champions. Already holding the world record for HDB (hot dogs and buns) eaten within 10 minutes going into the contest this year, the professional eater managed to raise the bar yet again. Saturday morning, Chestnut consumed 75 hot dogs and buns to come away with the 2020 Nathan's Hot Dog Contest mustard belt. He'd previously set the record (74) in 2018.
Saturday's contest was Chestnut's 16th time competing in the annual eat-off and his 13th championship. Prior to his first win in 2007, he lost to former reigning champ Takeru Kobayashi in back-to-back years. Chestnut ate just 32 HDB during his first-ever outing on the Nathan's Hot Dog stage.
When we spoke with Major League Eating boss George Shea earlier this week, he felt Chestnut's biggest competition would come from either Geoffrey Esper or Darron Breeden, ranked second and fourth in the world, respectively. Esper wasn't able to participate due to travel restrictions this year while Breeden finished second with 42 HDB.
"He hasn't been at home preparing like he typically prepares, he's been in a hotel room quarantining in New York, what does that do? I think it would be very difficult for me to handicap, so I won't," Shea told us. "But I think there are a lot of components here that make this unlike other years. If we were doing this year exactly the same, no COVID right? Where we're getting ready for July for maybe some rain thunderstorms, really hot. I would say you're looking at Joey in that 74 range plus or minus, right? I could not tell you that this year, could he go 78? Is he gonna go 68? No idea."
The top-ranked eater in the world, Celebrity Net Worth suggests Chestnut is worth north of $1.5 million due to his successes in the world of Major League Eating. That would include the $10,000 prize for each year of the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest plus any other winnings he may earn throughout the year. It's not uncommon for pro eaters to earn between $250,000 and $500,000 each given year from contests and sponsorships.
Cover photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images
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