The great Joey Chestnut has once again defended his title, winning the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest for the eighth time in his career. Although he was short of his own record of 69 hot dogs, his 61 was enough to narrowly win the 2014 title.
Joey Chestnut eats 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the 2014 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest!— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2014
Brad Evans of Yahoo gave some commentary on the win:
Joey Chestnut is the Adrian Peterson of tubed meat consumption. Just when you think his ship has sailed, he delivers. 61 dogs. 'Merica.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) July 4, 2014
Unlike past years, there was a serious challenge at the main event from Matt Stonie. As Sports Illustrated pointed out, the two were neck and neck in the closing minutes:
Don't look now but Matt Stonie is taking a shot at the throne. You come at the king you best not miss. pic.twitter.com/hJbnmvQXwt— SI Extra Mustard (@SI_ExtraMustard) July 4, 2014
Stonie finished with 56 hot dogs, but Chestnut was able to pull away down the stretch to earn the dramatic win. Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports provided the winner's thoughts after the competition:
“The hot dogs were slow today… it was just a dog fight the entire time.” - Joey Chestnut, #NathansFamousHotdogEatingContest champion, 2014.— Kevin McGuire (@KevinOnCFB) July 4, 2014
For those thinking about joining this contest in the future, ESPN's Darren Rovell dispensed a few notes about what Chestnut just consumed:
Nutritional info on Joey Chestnut's 61 hot dogs & buns: 23,790 calories, 1,189.5 g of fat, 60,390 g of sodium, 2,245 g of carbs.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 4, 2014
This should stop almost anyone from considering following in this path. As Rovell noted before the day, though, Chestnut was a heavy favorite after plenty of past success:
Joey Chestnut is a 1/12 favorite to win the hot dog eating contest @bovadalv. Bigger favorite than Secretariat at Belmont (1/10)— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 3, 2014
Joey Chestnut has 32 eating records including: chili, funnel cakes, jalapeño poppers, shrimp wontons & Twinkies.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 4, 2014
The 30-year-old has been setting the standard at this popular contest for almost a decade. He came onto the scene in 2007 when he defeated previous champion Takeru Kobayashi, the six-time champion who has since left Major League Eating due to contract disputes.
Interestingly, Chestnut told TMZ before the event that he wanted to see his former rival once again, saying, "I miss competing against him. He's a great competitor."
Despite this, it seems like Stonie can be a quality rival in the coming years. He has beaten Chestnut in other competitions; he just needs to find a way to come through in the most popular eating competition in the world.
Based on the narrow loss, it is clear that the young challenger will only need a small improvement to take over the champion.
Meanwhile, the title was not the only thing that made this a good day for Chestnut. Before the start of the contest, the competitor proposed to girlfriend Neslie Ricasa on stage, and she accepted:
Adding this to another championship, this was quite a Fourth of July for Chestnut and everyone involved.
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