Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

800px-Hot_dog_with_mustardToday is the Fourth of July, the United State’s Independence Day. On this day in 1776, we officially separated ourselves from Great Britain. We’ve talked a lot about this federal (national) holiday and how it’s celebrated (see here, here, and here).

Many cities have their own celebrations that are unique (special) to that place or among a certain group of people. One of these events is the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York City, which began in 1916.

Nathan’s Famous is a chain (business with many locations) of restaurants that specialize in hot dogs. Its original restaurant was a hot dog stand (small structure or building used for selling food or other things) at Coney Island.

Coney Island is a famous place in one of the boroughs (neighborhoods) of New York City called Brooklyn. Coney Island is well known for its amusement parks. Amusement parks have rides that go very fast and high in the air, games where people can win prizes, and many different types of fast food.  Between 1880 and the early 1940’s, before World War II, Coney Island was the largest amusement park area in the United States. During the height (high point) of Coney Island’s popularity, several million people visited it each year.

The legend (traditional story about history that may or may not be true) is that the hot dog eating contest started when four immigrants (people who move to another country to live, in this case the U.S.) held a contest to see who was the most patriotic (loving and supporting of the U.S.).  But in the early 1970s, a man named Max Rosey admitted (said was the truth even though he didn’t want to) that he and another man made up (created) this story as a publicity stunt (action taken to get attention).  Even though nobody really knows why and how this hot dog eating contest starting, the contest continues today.

The contest got a lot of attention starting in the 1990s because Japanese competitors began to take the contest very seriously, with Takeru Kobayashi winning six consecutive (without a break) years from 2001-2006. These “athletes” trained for the contest and broke world records (the official number of the most that anyone has done in the world). Since that time, the event has become very popular, with tens of thousands (10,000 to 90,000) of people going there to witness (see for themselves) this event.

So how many hot dogs do the winners eat? The 2013 winner ate and kept down (did not vomit or bring up again) 68 hot dogs in a 10 minute period. Can you beat (do better than) that?

Are there eating contests where you live? Are there special local events to celebrate independence day in your city or town?

~ Lucy

Photo Credit: Hot dog with mustard from Wikipedia


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10 Responses to Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

  1. emiliano says:

    We were not independent of any body, only we have a war against Napoleón and his soldiers when they invaded Spanish lands on the year
    It was in Madrid when that silly war against the french begun just for the reason the french soldiers were taken away from the West Palace
    of Madrid the sons of the King Charles IV and the Queen Maria Luisa de Parma.
    Both of them were already in France with the person, the silly person, who was going to be the next King of Spain Fernandinad VII. So silly
    and stupid war where thousands of french and spaniards people lost their life fighting for the return of one of the worst kings Spain has
    have, what is really difficult because nearly all kings of Spain have been a disaster.

    People died for nothing, making horrile actions that GOYA the painter shows in several of his great Works.
    There is a serial of Prints and some paintings of Goya that are titled “The Disasters of the War” where He shows how bad people do when they
    are in a war against other they thought are invaders.

    Poor french and spanish people fighting for such a silly King but even to remain as a country with our old habits out of season. Sure it would
    be better for Spain to be influenced by France by all means.

    To this war spaniards and history call “Independece War” and thinking with a cold mind about it every half minded person could see that was
    a fighting against poor french soldiers to liberate one of worst Spanish´s kings of history.
    His boot afterward was so oppresive that he delete one of the best Constitutional Laws the Spaniards made in Cadiz on the year 1812 that
    was called “La Pepa” as it was enacted on March 19th of 1812 the “San Jose Feast”…..son from Jose = Pepe = Pepa “La Pepa”.

    So infact we have nothing to celebrate, by the contrary the Independence War was a disaster.
    Nothing to be proud of, only that it was the first defeat of Napoleón followed by the Russian.

    Spain and Russia were the first countries that defeated Napoleón, befor Waterloo where all the allies defeated him.

    Have a good nice day of the Independence Lucy, that is my desire.
    You have something important to celebrate, that´s sure.


  2. Lassana says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Hi Lucy,

    There in France I don’t know a similare event.

    I know an other event called ” bieer festival ” which is very popular.
    It takes place during a few days in year and that attracks a lot of people of all ages.

    I went threre 10 years ago for my first time. It’s was a very well experience to see all this people to enjoy of frendly atmosphere.

    There you can drink different sort of beer, it’s the purpose of this event.

    But be careful with these huge amount of beer which are sold at stands, especially when we drive !

    If you’re coming one day in Strasbourg (located in north-east of France), it will be a pleasure to go together to this particular event !


  3. Wang says:

    My country, we don’t have any featured event like the hot dog eating contest in New York…And in that case, that event

    help the city gain more benefits during the time! I mean it help draw the traffic to the city, therefore, the people, service industry (restaurants, pubs, shops…), don’t miss the chance

    to earn more. It’s a advantage of the city

    On the contrary, the traffic over here will be driven out off the city…For sure, during the time, my city, the most developed one in VN, looks like a vacant city, you don’t see much vehicles on

    the roads…People who are from other provinces, cities, outskirts go back home for the time of family reuniting. The others, the locals, also drive out for special occasion!

    Some, like me, staying at home and reading book, or gathering with some best friends! that way, the local services will be hurt and my point is that the officials back here, they try to organize these big events coming

    simultaneously with days off…Normally, we will have 2 more days off along the celebration!

    Life is too short, we all need time for enjoying the life, the breaks, So I’m thankful for my government’s attentiveness even though, on other matters, they couldn’t make it thru the way we expect 😀

  4. Dan says:

    Hi Lucy and everyone

    I have seen the Eating contest scene in many movies, back in the past when I used to watch TV, with which by the way, I have nothing against.
    I just developed different habits like listening to the radio.

    To tell you the truth, I do not find that contest interesting or entertaining. It’s more amusing looking at my cat while sleeping.
    With that I do not mean to offend anyone who finds that entertaining.

    In Italy the 25th of April we celebrate the end of 20 years of Fascism, WWII, and the Nazi occupation. That would be a liberation day more than independence one.

    Thank you all guys

  5. Peter says:

    The Mosquito war is about to start
    I don’t know about the rest of the world ,but here , in North America another bug season is upon us particularly in the region with high heat and humidity like: Toronto and ,Say , Florida that make perfect incubators for Mosquitos’ eggs .
    As you know the ideal climate for Mosquitos to lay eggs is the combination of heat and humid.

    Any way , It is not gonna be long before we get bombarded with blood thirsty mosquitoes with just one thought in their minds ,” Vengeance.” 🙂
    As you know , the government took drastic measure last year to get ride of them. Well, in all fairness ,mosquitos prevailed.I mean we lost the human -mosquito war last year as the number of people infected by West Nile virus increased significantly
    Seemingly , they are coming at us this year in full scale. I hear that ,in Florida , misquitos 20 times the size of regular Mosquitos have been spotted. I verified the news first before spreading the words. It is as true as it is creepy.
    I had my skin crawled already.
    Well ,as it is Canadian and American government wont :))), they are trying to preempt the infestation by some preemptive strikes like warning people rather urging people to avoid prairies , generally countrysides ; to stay away from stagnant body of water like ponds ,swamp, bog ,or marsh; to use bug repellent sprays,and inspect their door and window screens for any hole or rip ,and if there is any, they take the necessary measures to repair them:)

    Well ,as I mentioned above , last year the number of people who got infected with West Nile virus had increased exponentially. If I recall correctly ,it was twice or three times as much as the previous year.

    Lets ,cross our fingers and hope that this year infestation is not gonna be as bad that praying is our only straw to clutch. Don’t you think ?;)

    Come on people , in all fairness , the officials did their best!! It is a pity that they came short

    May your summer be mosquito free 🙂

  6. Peter says:

    Dear Lucy ,

    I must say , the contest is the height of craziness whether you barf at the end or keep down.
    Are they aware of the damage exerted ,inflicted if you will ,on their digestive system?
    Can you imagine the huge extra work-load the contestant dumps like all of a sudden on Their kidneys and livers not to mention their stomachs and intestines. You know that the digestive organs collectively must go through hell to process the pile of processed food. I mean one hot dog alone is quite detrimental let alone a large stack of hot dog sandwiches. I mean , come on people, what are you thinking ?

    I don’t know how their system don’t get overwhelmed instantly ,but it would be later on down the road

    I bet , for a minute or two their bodies go through a shock As a result of the cholesterol and sugar boost

    I mean , what were they thinking participating in such a wild so called contest ?
    I m wondering why the ministry of health has not banned the contest yet !!?

    Look ,I don’t wanna be a party pooper or anything . All I m saying is , there must be other festive activities that can mark the day as good as the hot -dog bingeing with less self- inflected harm . I mean , At least , they don’t put the contestant on a gurney to the hospital :)))

    Dare me all you want Lucy ,but I won’t take the dare. ya know , I don’t wanna commit suicide . At least , not yet ! :))

    There are some similar fairs and festive events in Canada like “first of July “which is ,in a way , Independence Day for Canada. As you know about 179 years ago we parted from Great Britain. Ya know , between you and me , We had some clashes then. So,we went separate ways :)))

    In the first of July , we do a lot of stuff . We go canoeing ,we have street concerts .we gather in public parks , we have food festivals , we have some bars giving away draft beers And humbuggers.
    All in all ,Canada does a vast assortment of different festive activities and functions to mark the day . But , I ‘ll tell u , we keep it moderate, even-keeled, kick back if you will. I mean , we never push the binderies in first of July. We go a about it smoothly.
    Canada ends the day with some spectacular fire work .

    Don’t get me wrong folks , I totally agree with the idea that the hot-dog eating contest in a sense is a spectator ,fun sport ,if it could be called a sport. no doubt that , It is much fun being among the spectators but not among the participants. that is for sure!!


  7. Tania says:

    Hi! Celebrating the Fourth of July, the United State’s Independence Day, have a nice week-end with your friends and family.

    Best wishes,


  8. Parviz says:

    Dear Dr Lucy
    congratulation on the Independence day in your country.
    And Thank you for touching on one of my favorite foods, of course, if you consider hot dog as food.
    To tell you the truth, We have experienced a fake government Revolution thirty some years ago.
    Neither it made our lives better, nor it was a day worth celebrating. Of course not all people would agree with me.
    And I am not going further in this topic.
    Back to Hot dog thing, I wish we had such competition here. I would participate, just for the thrill of the involvement, not for winning a prize or being registered in The Record Book.
    I literally eat a Hot dog cooked in oil, every day. I know it must be harmful for my health, as some people have been telling me that.
    Some people think I am preparing for a competition, the way I eat hot dog.
    Also, I have invented several new ways to cook a hot dog.
    Actually there is a friend of mine who owns a fast food place, at midday I would go there, help him with his work, and eat.
    This is a good Idea. I think I can ask him for a competition.
    Thank you Lucy for this Idea,
    Sincerely yours,

  9. emiliano says:

    Spanish History it is very complicated to celebrate something as an Independence Day.
    Along thousand of years people who have been here are:

    by chronological order

    Jews (before the arabs and visigoths)
    German (lot of German people abd Flamingos came here on 1767 with the King Charles III to in order to repopulate lands of Andalusia
    Now there are thousands of andalusian people and from other lands of Spain that are blonde, my younger daughter are blonde
    with blue ayes.)

    French (when Napoleón came to Sppain with thousands of soldiers and other people)

    So, Spaniards are a mix of dozens of different people who came here and inhabit these lands for hundred of years.
    It could be the reson we are so less racist and once we conquered America we mix also with the indians who inhabit
    the American Lands thousand of years before.
    Even Hernan Cortes had a son with “Malinche” the daughter of Olutla of the Aztec nobility in Mexico, afteward Malinche
    was Doña Marina, and she was and important history figure for the conquers in the Aztec culture.

    It is funny for a spaniard person the idea of celebrate a day of Independence being invaded and conquered for so many
    people along thousand of years.

    Our blood is a mixture of Arabs, Jews, Celts, Roman Visigothic and some more people like Celtiberian, or German and
    French, it depends of the lands a spaniard could have born.

    Even on the coast of Galicia became the Vikings for hundreds of years, so as my grandfather was from Galicia I have
    comething of Celt and Viking, beside arab, jews and so forth……funny,

    My best dear blog´s friends.

  10. tracy_lee says:

    Hi Lucy,
    Thanks for sharing this special celebrated activity.Well,it’s really funny and cool.Long time ago I have ever heard about this hot dog contest,also about the Japanese winner,but I would never accociate with the federal holiday.
    In my country,we have independence day as well,but there is nothing special.Man can have a few days holiday,but no hot dog.Well,it’s so boring.

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