Interested in celebrating the Fourth of July by paying homage to America's world-beating skills in the arena of gluttony? The 2011 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will be broadcast live on ESPN at noon, giving viewers a chance to catch Joey Chestnut trying to defend his title and run his streak of consecutive victories to five, one shy of Takeru Kobayashi's record six straight wins.
Chestnut emerged with a nine-dog victory over Tim Janus, also known as Eater X, in 2010. Kobayashi, who did not sign a contract with Major League Eating, attended but did not compete in the contest, later being involved in a scuffle with police and jailed. Kobayashi will once again not be part of the Major League Eating-affilated Nathan's contest, instead choosing to have a parallel contest from the rooftop of a Manhattan bar, according to Deadspin.
This year, for the first time, the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will have a women's contest before a men's event. Sonya Thomas, the overwhelming women's favorite, headlines a 10-woman field that will compete at 11:25 a.m.; the women's contest will be streamed live at ESPN3.com. Previous contests have been open to all, and Thomas, the current women's record holder, having eaten 41 hot dogs and buns in 2009, has placed second in that contest on more than one occasion.
The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest rules are simple: contestants must eat as many hot dogs and buns as possible in 10 minutes. Prize money has been awarded since 2007, with the winner earning $10,000 for gustatory greatness.