Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2012: Start Time, Prize Money, Contestants, More

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2012

NEW YORK - JULY 4: A family eats hot dogs in front of an advertisement for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, to undergo later that day, on July 4, 2009 in Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California defeated Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan with eating 68 to his 64.5 hotdogs. Kobayashi won six previous competitions before tying last year with Chestnut. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Joey Chestnut will compete for his sixth Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest championship this year. He is the Michael Jordan of competitive eating.

This contest has gained popularity because of the dominance of eaters like Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi—so much so that ESPN will carry its coverage through 2017.

Let's break down the details for this year's hot dog showdown. More information can be found here.


When: Wednesday, July 4

Time: Women's Championship, 11:30 a.m. ET; Men's Championship, 12:00 p.m. ET

Where: Coney Island


*ESPN will run tape delay at 3:00 p.m. ET


Prize Money

These eaters don't compete for free. After their qualifying rounds, they're given an opportunity to compete for cash.

According to, the men's and women's champion each wins $20,000. Not bad for eating hot dogs all day.



The full list of participants has not been released yet, but a few entrants are certain.

Chestnut will be back. Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti will be there to challenge him, and Sonya Thomas will be defending her women's title.



Chestnut is trying to join Kobayashi in Nathan's six-title category. In 2009, he hate 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. That's beyond impressive.

According to Bovada, he faces 1/8 odds against the field. How could you go against him, though? The man ate 68 hot dogs.



Bovada has Bertoletti at 53.5 hot dogs. He is competing at 5/6 odds.

Last year, he ate 55 hot dogs. Unless someone has inside information regarding Bertoletti's intestinal fortitude, this is a tough one.

Expect him to eat the over.



She ate 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes last year en route to a women's championship. This year, Bovada set her at 40.5.

The over seems more accurate. She has momentum from last year's win.



I won't pretend to give you expert analysis about eating hot dogs. Every one of us can do it, but not nearly to this degree.

I like Chestnut to join Kobayashi on the six-time champion's pedestal. Last year, Thomas won the first women's contest and there's no reason to believe she can't do it again.

We've seen dominant runs in the men's circuit recently. Thomas could be starting a run of her own on the women's side of the bracket.