The annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest from Coney Island, New York, is one of the great traditions of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The 2014 edition will be no different.
While celebrating gluttony will not endear the customs of the United States to foreign lands, watching people gorge on the quintessential American food—steamy hot dogs and their accompanying buns—truly exemplifies the freedom we have in this country.
These competitors are true patriots.
As we prepare for the hot dog extravaganza, here is all the vital viewing information for the Coney Island tradition.
Where: Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York
When: Friday, July 4
Time: Women's Championship, 11:30 a.m. ET; Men's Championship, 12:40 p.m. ET
Watch Live: ESPN News at 12 p.m. ET
Replay: ESPN 2 (tape delay at 1 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Competitors|
|Men's Field||Women's Field|
|Joey “Jaws” Chestnut||Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas|
|Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie||Miki Sudo|
|Erik “The Red” Denmark||Michelle Lesco|
|Brian “Dud Light” Dudzinski||“The Lovely” Juliet Lee|
|Jeff “The Beast Man” Butler||Meredith “Deep Fried Diva” Boxberger|
|Tim “Eater X” Janus||“The Real Deal” Larell Marie Mele|
|Adrian “The Rabbit” Morgan||Mrs. Carlene LeFevre|
|Marcos “The Monster” Owens||Neslie Ricasa|
|Eric “Badlands” Booker||Mary Bowers|
|Sean “Flash” Gordon||Nicole Rodriguez|
|Yasir Salem||Marlene Wigginton|
|Aaron “The A-Train” Osthoff||Nicole Kulig|
|Juan “More Bite” Rodriguez||Val “Valkyrie” Bromann|
|Sgt. Horacio Chanyau|
Eater to Watch: Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas
While most eyes will be fixated on Joey “Jaws” Chestnut as he goes for yet another mustard-yellow championship belt, there is another dangerous competitor lurking who many consider the pound-for-pound best eater in the world.
Watch out for Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas.
Thomas broke onto the scene in 2003, when she stunned the field and managed an impressive fifth-place finish. Even with a competition full of men at the time, she managed to finish in third in 2004 and second in 2005.
At 5’5” and 100 pounds, according to her official website, Thomas was still able to beat many of the top eaters in the world. Unfortunately, Thomas was never able to get out of the shadow of Chestnut until Nathan’s instituted the women’s competition.
Since the inception of the women’s event in 2011, Thomas has won each year and set the world record at 45 hot dogs and buns. She carries her pink championship belt with pride.
Thomas told CBS Local 1010 WINS about her eating habits outside the competition and her strategy for preparing for the event:
I like the competition. Regularly I don’t eat fast, I just slowly eat, but the competition does matter to how much you eat, but you have to eat fast too. I try to drink a lot of liquid with my meal to stretch my stomach and before the competition, like maybe 24 hours, 36 hours, I try to empty out my stomach.
Thomas better be at her best because the competition in the women’s division this year will be the toughest it has ever been. Not only must the Black Widow contend with perennial challenger Juliet Lee, but she will also be squaring off against legitimate threats in Meredith “Deep Fried Diva” Boxberger and “The Real Deal” Larell Marie Mele.
After becoming such a dominant eater, Thomas even found her way onto morning television:
Last year saw Thomas struggle at the end of the 10-minute time period, but she still managed to beat out Lee by a score of 36 3/4 hot dogs and buns to 36. The victory didn’t come without controversy, though, and Thomas will be looking to answer the doubters.
For all the true fans of competitive eating, the 46-year-old athlete is a true hero and one of the greatest hot dog eaters in the history of the Nathan’s competition.
Predicted Finish: Thomas wins with 40 hot dogs and buns
*Stats and information via NathansFamous.com.