Nathan's Famous July 4th Contest History
Key Moments in the History of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest The Mustard Yellow International Belt—worn only by the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Champion of the world—is to hot dog aficionados what Faberg Eggs were to Tsar Nicholas Ⅱ. For those who prefer modern sporting sensibilities, the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is competitive eating’s Masters and the Mustard Yellow Belt is the sport’s Green Jacket. The belt is of unknown age and is unveiled only on July 4th, as is the bejeweled pink belt, given to the Women’s Champion.
1916: According to archives, the first Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest is held the year Nathan’s Famous opens on Surf Avenue. Irish immigrant Jim Mullen wins with 13 hot dogs and buns (HDBs).
1920s: Stan Libnitz of Flushing, Queens, and Andrew Rudman of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, alternate victories for eight years until 1928, when Rudman wins by half an HDB. Libnitz alleges Rudman elbowed him in the gut during the competition, according to oral accounts.
1941: Event canceled as a protest to the war in Europe.
1991: Frank “Large” Dellarosa of Maspeth, Queens, eats 21.5 hot dogs and buns—or 21.5 HDBs. 1993: Nathan’s champ Mike Devito defeats female Japanese phenom Orio Ito in a one-on-one contest. 1997: Hirofumi Nakajima of Japan downs 24.5 HDBs to defeat U.S. champion Ed Krachie. 2001: Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan, sets a new record by eating 50 HDBs. 2004: Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas becomes the first woman to eat more than 30 HDBs. 2007: Joey “Jaws” Chestnut of San Jose, CA, downs 66 HDBs to defeat Takeru Kobayashi and bring the Mustard Yellow Belt back to America. 2008: Chestnut and Kobayashi battle bite for bite, finishing in an even tie. A dramatic five-hot dog eat-off ensues and in 50-seconds, Chestnut finishes his hot dogs to claim his second consecutive title. 2009: Chestnut eats 68 HDBs in 10 minutes to secure his third consecutive Mustard Yellow Belt. 2011: Nathan’s Famous introduces a separate Women’s Championship to recognize the growing number of female competitors in the sport. Three eaters representing China compete on the Fourth of July after competing in the first-ever Beijing qualifier. 2013: The original Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island reopens after a months-long renovation forced by damages from Hurricane Sandy. Eating fans return in force on the Fourth of July to see Joey Chestnut consume 69 HDBs and secure his seventh consecutive title. 2014: Miki Sudo eats 34 HDBs to beat Sonya Thomas to claim her first Women’s title. 2015: Matt Stonie eats 62 HDBs to defeat Joey Chestnut. It marks Stonie’s first win on the Fourth of July and Chestnut’s first loss in nine years of sanctioned competition at Coney. 2016: Joey Chestnut consumes 73.5 HDBs in Washington DC to set a new World Record. 2017: Joey Chestnut wins his 10th Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship title after eating 72 hot dogs. Miki Sudo wins her fourth consecutive title after eating 41 HDBs. 2018: Joey Chestnut wins his 11th title and sets a new World Record of 74 HDB in 10 minutes. Miki Sudo wins her fifth-consecutive title with 37 HDB. 2019: Joey Chestnut wins his 12th title after eating 71 HDB. Miki Sudo wins her sixth-consecutive title after eating 31 HDB 2020: Joey Chestnut wins his 13th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship after eating 75 HDB. Miki Sudo wins her seventh-consecutive title after eating 48.5 HDB 2021: Joey Chestnut wins his 14th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship after eating 76 HDB. Michelle Lesco wins her first title after eating 30.75 HDB 2022: Joey Chestnut wins his 15th Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship after eating 63 HDB. Miki Sudo reclaims her eighth title after eating 40 HDB