Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2020: Joey Chestnut Sets Record with 75 Hot Dogs

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2020

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut poses for a photograph before the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest, Friday, July 3, 2020, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The weigh-in was held in a private, socially-distanced ceremony in the Williamsburg neighborhood due to COVID-19 concerns. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Joey Chestnut won the 2020 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Saturday by eating a world-record 75 hot dogs to capture the famed mustard-yellow belt for a 13th time.

Chestnut has won the annual Independence Day showcase on five straight occasions and has only lost once since 2007. Matt Stonie, who was among the contenders who couldn't attend this year's event because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, pulled off the upset in 2015.

Miki Sudo crushed the women's competition with a record-setting 48.5 hot dogs and buns (HDB) for her seventh consecutive pink belt. Sonya Thomas, a three-time champion, held the previous mark of 45.

This year's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest looked far different than the normal Fourth of July spectacle at the corner of Surf and Stillwell on Coney Island in New York City.

The event was moved inside to an undisclosed location in NYC with no fans in attendance. The field, which typically features 15 men and 15 women, was reduced to five on each side to allow for social-distancing requirements between each eating position.

Chestnut's main competition, Stonie and Geoffrey Esper, weren't able to attend, which quickly turned the focus from any serious challenges to whether he could break the single-contest record of 74 hot dogs.

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He came flying out of the gates, maintaining an average of over 10 HDB for several minutes, but the record-setting moment came right down to the final seconds as he slowed over time.

In June, the 36-year-old top-ranked eater in the world told TMZ Sports the controlled conditions of an indoor competition as opposed to the sweltering heat of a New York City summer day would give him a golden chance to break his record.

"There's a little bit of a bonus 'cause we're gonna be eating in air conditioning and [there are] less eaters, so they're making less hot dogs, so they might taste better," Chestnut said. "There's a good chance that we might have better conditions for a world record, and I'ma be pushing for it."

His 13 titles are more than double the next highest total on the men's side (Takeru Kobayashi, six). He also surpassed 1,000 career hot dogs during the win.

Meanwhile, Sudo also faced off with a field short on high-end competition because of COVID-19.

She thrived in the air-conditioned environment, easily topping her previous Nathan's best of 41 HDB. No other women's eater topped 20.