Joey Chestnut Ate This Many Hot Dogs To Win Nathan's 2021 Hot Dog Eating Contest

At one of the most gluttonous Fourth of July festivities in America, Joey Chestnut proved once again that he is the master of ingesting large amounts of processed meat and bread substances. He, as CNN reported, won Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest for the fourteenth time. But Chestnut didn't just win. He beat his own record, consuming one hot dog more than he did last year to reach a total of 76 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. That's about one hot dog every 12 to 13 seconds for 10 minutes straight. 

These days, however, the eating contest is less of a genuine competition than a spectacle to see how much food can fit within the confines of one man, namely Joey Chestnut. In the last fifteen years, he has only lost once and that was to Mattie Stonie in 2015 which makes him, as GQ puts it, "the guy who unseated Joey Chestnut" before Chestnut returned to dominance in 2016.

On a more competitive note, Miki Sudo, the six-year women's champion and record holder with 48.5 hot dogs and buns, did not compete because her first child is due later this month. This left an open field from which Michelle Lesco emerged as victor with 30.75 hot dogs and buns eaten, per CNN.

Fifty years of a fifty year long backstory

The legend of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating contest is that in 1916, a group of four immigrants decided to discover who was the most patriotic towards their new country. Of course, the only way to devote oneself to the land of plenty is to eat as much of that offered plenitude as possible in the form of hot dogs. According to an old timeline on Nathan's website, the winner of this first contest was James Mullen who ate 13 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Ever since, people have gathered across the globe to pay homage to what was apparently the most American of pastimes.

Except that's all bunk.

In 2016, the supposed centennial of that fateful first competition, the New York Post learned from Wayne Norbitz, a longtime former president of Nathan's and current member of their board of directors, that the whole backstory was invented in 1972 to stir up interest in Nathan's. "Our objective was to take a photograph and get it in the New York newspaper," he admitted. Apparently, all it took was for them to gather a group of four or so people who wanted to eat hot dogs and the company received good publicity. Since then, the PR stunt has evolved into an event even more legendary than its fictional origins.