In many ways, there's nothing more American than chowing down at a Fourth of July barbecue. But when the chowing-down is taken to an extreme, it is a competitive eating event.
Perhaps the greatest American eating event is the annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. This is not an event for amateurs who are known to put away three of four hot dogs in a couple of innings at a ballgame.
Instead, it is for those who can dominate the meat, trenchermen who can do it with incredible speed. The winner of this contest should have an excellent chance to eat 70 or more hot dogs in a 10-minute time period.
The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is such a big event that it is broadcast on live television on an annual basis. ESPN2 will air the event Tuesday at 12 noon ET, replay it at 4 p.m. and show it again at 10 p.m. The Hot Dog Eating Contest can also be live-streamed at WatchESPN.
This year's Hot Dog Eating event at New York's Coney Island features two of the best competitive eaters in the business in the legendary Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie.
Chestnut won the event eight consecutive times prior to the 2015 contest, and that's when Stonie came through with the upset.
Chestnut, steaming at himself over that defeat, redoubled his training efforts and bounced back with a huge effort last year. Chestnut ate 70 hot dogs in 2016, overpowering Stonie, who ate 53 hot dogs over the same time frame.
The rules of the competition state that the competitors must eat the hot dog and the bun, and this is primarily accomplished by dunking the hot dog and bun in water before the eaters start to chomp away. All eaters must complete the eating act, and any loss of food will disqualify the competitor from the event.
Chestnut is a big betting favorite in the event, according to OddsShark. Chestnut is a -350 favorite (bet $350 to win $100) to eat more hot dogs than Stonie.
The 2015 champion is a +225 underdog (bet $100 to win $225) to down more dogs than Chestnut.
Bettors can also wager on the number of hot dogs eaten by the winner. Those who believe the winner will reach the 70-mark as Chestnut did a year ago are offered odds of +120 that the winner will consume more than 69.5 hot dogs. Those who believe that the 70 total will not be breached must risk $160 to earn a $100 profit.
OddsShark points out that there are several options for handicappers to bet on the winning total.
Miki Sudo is the favorite to win the women's contest and defend the title she put away a year ago. Sudo ate 38.5 hot dogs in 2016, and she is the three-time defending women's champion.
The famed Hot Dog Eating Contest has been going on for more than 100 years, and he shows no signs of slowing down. It is a gastronomic event of Olympian proportions.