Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: Patrick Bertoletti and Miki Sudo Win

NEW YORK (AP) — Chicago’s Patrick Bertoletti wolfed down 58 hot dogs Thursday to win his first men’s title at the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July event. hot dog eating contest and taking advantage of the event’s biggest star would be to go 3,000 miles away for dinner.

Bertoletti won in a thrilling 10-minute race that saw the leader bounce back and forth. The 39-year-old Bertoletti beat 13 competitors from around the world in a test to see who can eat the most hot dogs in 10 minutes.

“I wouldn’t stop eating until the job was done,” Bertoletti said.

Bertoletti broke his previous record of 55 hot dogs at the event, which is held every Independence Day on Coney Island in New York.

The reigning men’s champion, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, was absent from this year’s competition due to a sponsorship dispute. Instead, Chestnut will compete later in the day against soldiers at a U.S. Army base in El Paso. Chestnut has won 16 of 17 previous matches.

Bertoletti said he had lost weight and trained with “urgency” for three months to prepare for Thursday’s event, thinking he had a good chance of winning.

“With Joey gone, I knew I had a chance,” he said. “I was able to unlock something that I don’t know where it came from. But I’m not complaining.”

On Thursday, reigning champion Miki Sudo of Florida won her tenth women’s title.

Sudo ate 51 hot dogs in 10 minutes, setting a new world record for women.

“I’m just happy to call this my own for another year,” Sudo said after winning her 10th pink belt.

The 38-year-old dental hygiene student won last year after devouring 39 1/2 hot dogs.

Sudo beat out 13 competitors, including 28-year-old rival Mayoi Ebihara of Japan. Ebihara came in second after eating 37 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She was also the runner-up in 2023. Sudo also ate more than her partner, former Florida bodybuilder Nicholas Wehry, who ate 46 hot dogs in the men’s competition.

Bertoletti’s victory marks the first time since 2015 that the famed mustard belt has gone to someone other than Chestnut.

Thousands of fans, some wearing foam hot dog hats, flock each year to the event held outside the original Nathan’s location on Brooklyn’s Coney Island, a beach destination with amusement parks and a carnival-like summer culture. Rich Shea, CEO of Major League Eating, which puts on the event, noted that people still came in droves even though Chestnut wasn’t there.

“Just a great competitor, a great guy, a grown man and a man who chose not to be here today,” he said of the popular eating champion on ESPN. “But fortunately for us, there are tens of thousands of people thronging Nathan’s Famous. It’s a pilgrimage every year. This is not a paid Hollywood audience. This is excitement.”

Contestants came from more than a dozen states and five continents, with hopefuls from Brazil, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic vying for the coveted title and $10,000 prize money.

Last year Chestnutfrom Indiana, fought his way to the title by eating 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. The record, set in 2021, is 76.

Chestnut was initially not invited of the event due to a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, a company that specializes in plant-based meat substitutes and which advertised on ESPN during the event on Thursday.

Major League Eating has since said it has lifted the ban, but Chestnut decided to spend the holidays with the troops anyway.

Chestnut said he would not return to the Coney Island game without an apology.

The event at Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, starting at 5 p.m. ET, will feature traditional sausages, with Chestnut attempting to eat four soldiers in five minutes.

Even though he won’t be eating its vegan products, Impossible Foods is promoting Chestnut’s YouTube livestream of the exhibit by flying planes carrying banners over Los Angeles and Miami. The company will also donate to an organization that supports military families based on the number of hot dogs eaten at the event, a spokesperson said.


Haigh reported from Norwich, Connecticut.

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