Pardon the hot dog pun, but if I’m being frank, I’m not super into competitive eating. I’ve simply never been overly fascinated by watching grown adults stuff their faces with food. What does catch my attention, though, is the unbelievable dominance of a man named Joey Chestnut.  

Joey Chestnut Continues His Legacy

This Monday, Joey claimed his 15th  Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest title. That alone should astound you. That one man can remain at the peak of his game for 15 years and be almost unmatched by any competitor is just absurd. No athlete in any organized sport or competition is as singularly dominant as Joey Chestnut is at eating hot dogs.

I was initially drawn to this when I saw the odds on Chestnut for the 2022 contest. The odds for Chestnut to retain his belt were an astonishing -5000. If you are not a big gambler and are unfamiliar with odds terminology, allow me, a degenerate gambler, to explain. 

-5000 translates to an “implied odds” of 98.04, or in other words, Vegas believes that Chestnut would win 98.04 times out of 100. Now, if you’re sitting there thinking, “sounds like free money,” hold your greedy horses partner. At those odds, throwing down 100 bucks on Chestnut would return you a paltry 2 dollars. Even if you’re a super high roller, like Drake or Elon Musk or something, and threw down 1,000,000 on Chestnut, you only stand to gain 20,000 dollars. So is it free money? Kind of, but not unless you’re already loaded. But how did we get to this point? How did one man become the king of hot dogs?

Who is Joey Chestnut?

Joey Chestnut 2018
Chestnut reigns victorious at the 2018 Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest

Joey Chestnut eats hot dogs the way you or I breathe air. His career began in 2005 when he ate 32 hot dogs in the allotted 10 minutes and finished 3rd in that year’s competition. He would go on to lose by one and 3/4ths of a hot dog the next year to new world record holder Takeru Kobayashi. It’s important to note that Joey Chestnut was a small name in the world of competitive eating until this breakout performance, where he challenged the world champion. 

2007

Chestnut and Kobayashi both broke the latter’s world record in a hot dog showdown for the ages. Chestnut consumed a total of 66 hot dogs and buns to Kobayashi’s 63. This was Kobayashi’s first time losing the event since 2001. The world of competitive eating had a new titan, and his name was Joey Chestnut. 

2008

This competition saw Chestnut and his rival Kobayashi go to overtime. Yes, there’s overtime in competitive eating. In a five hot dog showdown, Chestnut outraced Takeru and retained his belt. In 2009, he broke his own world record again by consuming 68 hot dogs and buns and dominating the field. Chestnut was reportedly highly disappointed in his 2010 performance, in which he ate just 54 hot dogs. However, even a disappointing performance by his standards was still enough to secure a 4th straight win. 

2011

Chestnut did win the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest; however, his world record for eating was stolen by….. guess who? Takeru Kobayashi. This time though, Kobayashi was embroiled in a contract dispute with Major League Eating and refused to compete at the Nathan’s sponsored contest. Instead, he ate 69 hot dogs and buns, which we actually call HBDs in the industry, for a room of private judges. 

An Impressive Feat

Joey Chestnut Matt Stonie 2015
The world is stunned as Matt Stonie defeats Joey Chestnut at the 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

It would take eight total years for someone to beat Joey Chestnut at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest. After winning the 2014 competition by just five HBDs, there seemed to be a new challenger. His name was Matt Stonie, a notable Youtuber who had risen to the ranks of competitive eating. In 2015, Stonie pulled off the unthinkable and beat Chestnut by just two dogs, 62-60. 

Chestnut refused to be held down, however, and roared back in 2016, setting a new world record and winning the competition by devouring 70 HBDs. It would’ve taken divine intervention for any mere mortal to match that performance and Stonie finished 2nd with just 53 HBDs. The King was back, and the throne was his. 

Since 2016, Joey Chestnut has elevated his game to purely untouchable levels. He’s won every Nathan’s Hot Dog Contest since 2016 and has snapped his own records almost every time. In 2017 he ate 72, a new record, which he broke the following year with 74. Slight step back in 2019 with just 71 before another record in 2020 with 75. He set the current world record with 76 HBDs on July 4th of 2021. 

Joey Chestnut 2022
Chestnut shows the heart of a 1,000 warriors at the 2022 contest, competing with a ruptured tendon

Competing While Injured

This year was a significant year for Chestnut in a number of ways. He competed with a ruptured leg tendon and needed crutches. Despite this setback, he was still able to not only win the competition but also place a disrupting protestor in a headlock before security arrived. Nobody and nothing can stop this man from eating his hot dogs. Long reign the King, long reign Joey Chestnut. The greatest athlete of our generation. 

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About Author

Jackson Durham

Hello! I'm an aspiring sports writer from the St. Louis area who was Sooner born and Sooner bred. Outside of writing about Oklahoma football I also write articles on Fantasy Football and love to chat on Twitter.

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