Spectators will flock to Coney Island this July 4 for a 10-minute nail biter to see who can down the most of Nathan's Famous (NATH) hot dogs and claim the championship Yellow Mustard Belt in the 45th annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The event, produced by Major League Eating (MLE), will draw 35,000 people to the original Nathan's Famous hot dog stand on the corner of Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island, NY. Reigning men's champion Joey "Jaws" Chestnut downed 70 dogs last year. Women's title defender Miki Sudo finished with 38.5. The $40,000 total prize purse awards each first-place winner $10,000 and the coveted Yellow Mustard Belt.
"If Coney is Augusta and Nathan's is our Masters, the Yellow Mustard Belt is our green jacket," Major League Eating president Richard Shea told TheStreet.
MLE facilitates 19 qualifying events from April through July on "the Road to Coney." Each qualifier sends their winners to Coney Island to compete on the big stage. MLE puts them up in a Midtown Manhattan Hotel for an all-expenses-paid trip.
But the contest is no joke, even if the spirit at Nathan's is "full of ballyhoo and pageantry," Shea said.
This year could be the first time an eater wins his tenth contest. Nine-time champ Chestnut will face stiff competition from up-and-comer Carmen Concotti, who ate 53 hot dogs in just seven minutes at his Queens, NY, qualifier.
Nathan's is marking a special milestone with this year's contest. For a decade, Nathan's has donated 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank of New York. With the 2017 event, Nathan's will mark its 1 millionth hot dog donated.
The men's and women's contests will air on Walt Disney Co's (DIS) ESPN3 digital platform with coverage starting at 10:50 a.m. Women compete at 11 a.m. and men at 12:30 p.m.
Starting at noon, ESPN2 will televise the men's event live.
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Editors' pick: Originally published June 30.