Saturday afternoon, the top competitive eaters gathered together to take part in a beloved Fourth of July tradition. Joey Chestnut and his peers took to the stage for the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. The reigning champion had the opportunity to break his all-time record while reaching 1,000 career hot dogs ingested, and he achieved both en route to another victory.
Chestnut faced a stacked list of competitors on Saturday ranging in age and size. This roster included 2019's runner-up Darron Breeden. However, he did not let the pressure disrupt his competition. Chestnut continued to scarf down hot dogs and buns in his protective bubble while aiming for a record of 75 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He got the 75th and final hot dog in his mouth just shy of the 10-minute cutoff and claimed yet another Mustard Belt in his iconic career. This feat sparked celebrations on social media and in homes around the country.
While Breeden stuck with Chestnut during the first half of the competition, Chestnut left him and the other men far behind. He maintained a record-breaking pace through the first seven minutes. A total of 80 hot dogs was well within reach, which quickly became the focus of the ESPN broadcast crew. Chestnut ultimately fell short of 80, but he still broke his record during another stomach-stretching performance.
Considering that Chestnut is the nation's top competitive eater, there are questions about his training. Some fans routinely wonder if he just eats pizza and hot dogs all of the time to test his skills? In reality, Chestnut takes a very different strategy. He told TMZ Sports that he eats relatively healthy while testing his skills.
"Last week, I did like 8 pounds of cucumbers," Chestnut said. He clarified that his training consists of eating healthy throughout the week before taking part in a weekly cheat meal. This feast is when the reigning champ works on bulk eating. Chestnut also explained that he couldn't practice competitive eating with hot dogs, pizza, or hamburgers. If he did, he would be "400 pounds" and would not be able to control his breathing. Working with fruits and vegetables provides him with a challenge while still maintaining a relatively healthy diet.
As Miki Sudo noticed during her record-breaking performance, the atmosphere was considerably different on Saturday afternoon. Fans did not attend the eating contest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They couldn't scream at the eaters to provide any support, making the competition very quiet, except some music and one announcer. Despite the lack of noise, both Sudo and Chestnut secured victories and broke records on Saturday afternoon.