The big guns of competitive eating!

competitive eating
Competitive Eating – Joey Chestnut vs. Takeru Kobayashi

Every 4th of July in New York qualifying ‘athletes’ from a global pool of contenders go for the Ashes of competitive eating. This year US legend Joey Chestnut did it again, gulping an amazing 69 hotdogs in 10 min!

100 years ago competitive eating was American kids eating pies at State Fairs. These days it’s big business with prestige, sponsors and big prize money for the ‘athletes’.  Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, held on Independence day (July 4) in Coney Island New York, gets shown on ESPN, draws overseas contestants and creates controversy.

In the late 90s and early 2000s this comp saw an influx of Japanese competitors with advanced training and competitve eating techniques most notably the infamous Takeru Kobayashi. Kobayashi  doubled the previous record of 25.5 dogs, downing  50 in 10 minutes with the help of Trademark moves like the ‘Kobayashi Shake’ – a body wiggle which allows him to force food down his oesophagus and settle it more compactly in his stomach.

Watch Kobayashi  hammer the burgers!

With all the press attention and sponsorship dollars Shea communications, who run the Nathan’s hotdog comp got greedy. They formed Major League Eating and insisted that only eaters under exclusive contract to them could compete in the hotdog comp. This froze out champs like Kobayashi who now held 6 Guiness book records for eating other foods. He crashed the stage in protest at the 2010 event and was arrested. In 2011 Kobayashi filmed his own hot dog competitive eating demonstration at the same time as theirs – downing 69 (which would’ve made him that year’s winner)

The official record holder is still hometown champ Joey Chestnut. Will someone knock him off this year? Stay tuned..

Competitive Eating Lingo


Stuffing as much food as you can into your mouth in the final seconds of the contest (a la Joey above). Competitors must swallow the moouthful within a minute of the bell or risk a penalty deduction


In many contests eaters are allowed to dunk foods in water or other liquids to make it easier to chew and swallow. Dunking typically takes place with foods involving a bun or other doughy parts. Professional contests often enforce a limit on the amount of time competitors are allowed to dunk food


You wouldn’t know it to watch them but competitors are meant to maintain a ‘relatively clean eating surface’ throughout and excess fallout can mean another deduction

‘Reversal’ (known in the Nathan’s hot dog comp as a ‘reversal of fortune’)

Competitors regurgitating food during or immediately after the contest will be disqualified. ‘Reversal’ includes obvious vomiting as well as ‘any small amounts of food that may fall from the mouth deemed by the judges to have come from the stomach’

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