Defending champion Miki Sudo retained the women’s title at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest Thursday with a record-breaking 51 dogs in a 10 minutes. Mayoi Ebihara, of Tokyo, Japan, came in second with 37 dogs, while Arizona’s Michelle Lesco finished third with 23.5 wieners.
Sudo, a Florida native, beat her beef-eating competitors by a mile at the July 4 tradition.Her 28-year-old rival, Mayoi Ebihara, of Japan, came in second with 37 dogs, while Arizona’s Michelle Lesco, 40, finished third with 23.5 wieners.
Miki Sudo has been the reigning queen since 2014 except in 2021 when she took a break for pregnancy. Last year, she managed a winning 39-and-a-half hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Sudo’s previous personal best came in 2020 when she chowed down on a whopping 48.5 dogs in the beef-eating competition.
With the event’s biggest star —- Joey “Jaws” Chestnut — out of the contest this year, Sudo’s result set up a possible scenario in which the women’s champ out-eats the men’s winner. Geoffrey Esper, who came second last year, also has a personal best of 51, but only ate 49 last year.
Chestnut, who won 16 out of the previous 17 contests, isn’t attending the competition over a sponsorship tiff. Instead, he’ll compete against soldiers at a U.S. Army base in El Paso later in the day. That leaves the traditional Brooklyn event wide open for a new winner in the men’s division, with eaters from around the world competing on America’s Independence Day to see how many hot dogs they can eat in 10 minutes.
Thousands of fans flock each year to the event held outside the original Nathan’s location in Brooklyn’s Coney Island, a beachfront destination with amusement parks and a carnivalesque summer culture. ESPN is broadcasting the contest live. The men’s will begin at approximately 12:20 p.m.
Competitors are coming from over a dozen states and five continents, with prospects from Brazil, Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic vying for the coveted title and $10,000 prize money.
“There’s going to be a new champion,” Australian James Webb, who holds a world record for eating 70 doughnuts in eight minutes, said at a preview event in New York on Wednesday.
Last year Chestnut, of Indiana, chewed his way to the title by downing 62 dogs and buns in 10 minutes. The record, which he set in 2021, is 76.
“I’m going to be pushing myself,” Sudo said Wednesday. Her rival Mayoi Ebihara, from Japan, said through a translator that she would eat until she passes out, with a goal of downing 50 hot dogs.
Chestnut was initially disinvited from the event over a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, a company that specializes in plant-based meat substitutes.
Major League Eating, which organizes the Nathan’s Famous contest, has since said it walked back the ban, but Chestnut decided to spend the holiday with the troops anyway.
Chestnut said he wouldn’t return to the Coney Island contest without an apology.
(With agency inputs)