The 2013 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is officially in the books, as Joey Chestnut won his seventh consecutive title by consuming a world record 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes. With the win, he enters a rare realm in the world of entertainment.
Chestnut is now a cult legend in one of the most crowd-pleasing events in the world.
Winning seven consecutive titles at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is an accomplishment that's difficult to put into words. Not only has the 29-year-old become a favorite of the average American, but he's become one of the more recognizable names in the world.
According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, he did it in rather—well, you think of an adjective to describe this.
All in a day's work.
It may not be the most conventional event in the world, and it most certainly isn't for those with a weak stomach. What it is, however, is a piece of American tradition as a Fourth of July event that eyes struggle to watch, but cannot look away from.
As the seven-time defending champion, Chestnut is now the face of the tradition and thus a pop culture icon.
How It Started
In 2007, Joey Chestnut won his first of seven titles at the 92nd annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. While the win itself is worth marveling, there was a monumental feat that Chestnut achieved.
He dethroned Takeru Kobayashi.
Prior to Chestnut's win, Kobayashi had won six consecutive events from 2001 to 2006. The 5'8",128-pound champion defied the laws of weight-to-consumption capabilities, and even set what was a personal best of 63 consumed in 2007.
With Kobayashi at his best, Chestnut was better.
Chestnut ate 66 hot dogs and buns in 2007, beating out the defending champion by just three. More impressively, he set a world record that set the stage for one of the most memorable battles in the history of the event.
In 2008, Chestnut and Kobayashi tied at 59 through 10 minutes. The American proceeded to win an eat-off to set the stage for where he is today.
American Win on Fourth of July
Since then, no one has been able to touch Chestnut, as he's become the pre-scandal Lance Armstrong of hot dog eating. Not only is he tackling the competition and going virtually unscathed through each event, but he's an American that is shining on the nation's most significant holiday.
For that reason, Chestnut's victories are of extreme importance.
On a day in which Americans celebrate the history of the USA, seeing a home-grown entertainment star shine is the beyond uplifting. While all contestants have their fair share of support, Chestnut has become the face of a storied event.
A legend, if you will.
We won't dare compare Chestnut to the likes of Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan or Jack Nicklaus, but he's become the face of his own genre of entertainment. There may be some who have come before him, and there will be those who step up in future years.
With his seventh consecutive title, however, Chestnut is now a part of American pop culture history.