Joey Chestnut breaks another hot dog eating contest record

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Joey Chestnut did not need a crowd or his closest competitor.

Instead, in one of the most unusual editions of one of the most distinctively American traditions, the San Jose native shot down his 1,000th hot dog of his career, broke his own record by eating 75 dogs and buns in 10 minutes and achieved a 13th win in Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on Saturday.

“The hot dogs were really fast,” Chestnut said as he made his way through a socially estranged post-contest interview on ESPN.

With this being the coronavirus era, there were no crowds of fans dressed as hot dogs filling the Coney Island boardwalk for the contest this Fourth of July.

Almost everyone had to watch the event on television, broadcast from a brick-walled room somewhere near the waterfront, with a limited group of judges and media available. Plastic barriers separated each of the competitors, who wore face masks as they approached the hot dog table.

The strangely calm atmosphere “scared me,” Chestnut told this news organization. “It was different, everything is different.”

Only five diners entered the contest after three others were unable to compete due to self-quarantine restrictions that New York has put in place for visitors as the virus explodes across the country. Matt Stonie, another competitive San Jose eater and the only man to beat Chestnut in the hot dog eating competition since 2006, was one of those who missed it.

As a result, the event itself was even less competitive: Chestnut beat second place finisher Darron Breeden by 33 dogs.

In the women’s competition, the equally dominant Miki Sudo consumed 48.5 hot dogs and scones, as she also flew the field for her seventh consecutive victory.

The closest contest was between Chestnut and his own record, set in 2018, of 74 dogs: “A man facing his own legacy,” as ESPN commentator Mike Golic Jr. put it.

The unique circumstances seemed to be advantageous to Chestnut: He was eating with air conditioning instead of sweating during the competition in the summer sun, and with fewer competitors to cook, he said, the hot dogs were fresher and tasted better as he gobbled them down. .

Chestnut started at a breakneck pace, averaging over 10 dogs per minute during the first half of the competition.