NEW YORK (AP) — Chowdown champ Joey “Jaws” Chestnut broke his own record to gulp to a 14th win in the men’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Sunday, while Michelle Lesco took the women’s title.
Chestnut, a Vallejo native, downed 76 franks and buns in 10 minutes. That’s one more than he did in setting the men’s record last year, when the contest unfolded without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.READ MORE: VIDEO: Wind-Whipped Dixie Fire Ignites Homes In Greenville; Fire Crews 'Going Into Life Threat Mode'
“It just felt good,” Chestnut 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.”
Lesco, of Tucson, Arizona, downed 30 ¾ dogs in 10 minutes and called her win “an amazing feeling.”
Reigning women’s champ and record-holder Miki Sudo skipped this year because she’s expecting a baby in a few weeks with fellow competitive eater Nick Wehry. He vied for the men’s title but came up short.READ MORE: PG&E Stock Dip Impacting Fortunes of Past Wildfire Victims
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.
Last year, it was held indoors and without an in-person audience because of the pandemic.
Chestnut, who now resides in Westfield, Indiana, said he’d missed the fans last year.MORE NEWS: COVID: Case Surge From Delta Variant Leading to Health Care Worker Fatigue
“I’ve been looking forward to this all year,” he said.