It's that wonderful time of year again. Friends and family gather together to sit back, relax and watch people decimate their bodies with a superfluous amount of sodium. Yes, this is America, where we may not be the best at the beautiful game, but we will not be denied at the eating game. Tomorrow will mark the start of the 98th annual Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest. NINETY EIGHTH. The country has only existed for 238 years.
Anyhow, here's everything you need to know:
Eat as many hot dogs (buns included) as possible in 10 minutes. Must keep the dogs down for the duration of the contest or you'll be disqualified. Contestants can dip hot dogs in water, which is super gross.
Where to watch:
ESPN News (12 p.m. ET), and a tape delayed version will start on ESPN 2 at 2 p.m. ET.
Bovada currently has Joey Chestnut as the favorite at -1200. Matt Stonie far behind at +900. Or you can take the field at +700.
Over/under for total dogs eaten by the winner is 67 1/2.
Joey “Jaws” Chestnut: The myth, the legend. At some point, one runs out of adjectives to describe greatness. To call Joey Chestnut the Michael Jordan of hot dog eating would be extremely insulting to Chestnut. Jaws has won seven Nathan's hot dog eating contests in a row, and also claims world records for eating the most tamales, Twinkies, asparagus, bratwurst, ice cream and hard boiled eggs. But perfection does not rest on its laurels. Joey's back to defend his title, and, dare we say, break the 70 hot dog barrier (the current record is 69, set last year by Chestnut)?
Matt “The Megatoad” Stonie: Measuring up at an imposing 5’8”, 120 lbs, The Megatoad is the 2nd ranked eater in the world and the only somewhat realistic threat to take Chestnut's throne. He's also from San Jose, the same city as Chestnut, which begs the question, what the hell is going on in San Jose?
Stonie has a popular Youtube channel where, you guessed it, he eats stuff. Here he is eating 5 Big Macs in 60 seconds (if this isn't something you want to watch, you should probably avoid ESPN tomorrow):
Erik “The Red” Denmark: 14th ranked eater in the world, he once at 5 lbs of kimchi in 6 minutes, which is way too much.
Brian “Dud Light” Dudzinski: Just based on nickname, I would bet everything that this guy was in a frat.
Jeff “The Beast Man” Butler: 10th ranked eater in the world, he finished 6th place at last year's contest. He's also a former army cook who was disciplined for over-eating.
Tim “Eater X” Janus: Holds the World Record for longest burp. I'm not going to pretend like anything else matters:
Adrian “The Rabbit” Morgan: The 7th ranked eater in the world, Morgan won Rouse’s 2014 Crawfish Eating World Championship by eating 2.7 lbs of Crawfish in 10 minutes. Yikes.
Marcos “The Monster” Owens: In a sport like competitive eating, I'm guessing you really have to bring it in order to earn a name like Monster. Owens at 144 Hooters wings in 10 minutes. That's enough to weird out the type of clientele that regularly eats at Hooters.
Eric “Badlands” Booker: A familiar face at the Nathan's Hot Dog contest, Badlands consistently wins the award for "Guy who looks like he'd do pretty well at a hot dog eating contest."
Sean “Flash” Gordon: Once at 30 moon pies in 8 minutes, a feat only equaled by every 8-year-old raised in the South.
Yasir Salem: Qualified by eating 27.5 hot dogs & buns in 10 minutes. Not a contender, but that's still an insane amount of food for one man to eat.
Aaron “The A-Train” Osthoff: The 8th ranked eater in the world and the 2011 Canadian wings eating champion. Also has a pretty sweet nickname.
Juan “More Bite” Rodriguez: Works as a personal trainer. Has also eaten 31 hot dogs in 10 minutes. These two things do not compute.
Pablo Martinez: Won the Las Vegas qualifier, meaning he's no stranger to eating extremely large quantities of borderline edible food. Investigates the paranormal in his free time. Somehow doesn't have his own reality show on TLC.
Ronnie Hartman: 23rd ranked eater in the world, which is pretty good considering everybody eats.
Colin Shirlow: Ireland's oyster eating champion, Shirlow's about to get a rude, disgusting welcome to the American diet.
Sgt. Horacio Chanyau: Sgt. Chanyau was the winner of the inaugural Nathan’s Famous Military qualifier, making him easily the most patriotic person ever.