Independence Day is traditionally known for things like fireworks, barbecues, picnics, parades, carnivals, and baseball.
But what's better than Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest?
I don’t know about you, but each July 4 I’m thanking Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and the Second Continental Congress for images like the following from the moment I wake up in the morning.
So long, Great Britain. Hello Joey Chestnut in Coney Island!
The man affectionately known as "Joey Jaws" will attempt to win his eighth straight Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest today in Brooklyn after crushing a world-record 69 hot dogs and wet buns in just 10 minutes a year ago today. It was a breeze – an 18-dog victory over Matt “Megatoad” Stonie.
I'm part grossed out and part, well, fascinated.
Chestnut already has seven mustard yellow belts to his credit, but Bovada lists the perennial champ as a 1/12 favorite to retain his title. The odds are overwhelmingly in his favor. Takeru Kobayashi, who?
I got to thinking, though: As Chestnut prepares for another bout with his insides, what exactly does a competitive eating champ do the rest of the year? To no surprise, he eats. A lot. And it ain’t just wieners.
The California native holds several world records beyond hot dogs, all set since 2008.
How about 12.8 pounds of deep fried asparagus in 10 minutes? Chestnut suffered through that feat back in May.
Then there’s 13.76 pounds of pork rib meat in 12 minutes, 78 matzoh balls in eight minutes, 70 bratwursts in 10 minutes, and 141 hard-boil eggs in eight minutes.
And, don't forget 4.5 pounds of steak, plus sides, in eight minutes and 52 seconds. Chestnut's body sure won't. That record stood for six years until it was broken by Molly Schuyler on May 26.
Can Chestnut inhale 70 dogs today and break his own record for the second time? We'll find out just after noon as more than one million people look on.
As Adams wrote to his wife Abigail back in 1776, this special day “ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
All he missed are the hog dogs. Don’t worry, Chestnut won’t.
Happy birthday, America. And good luck, Joey.
Follow me on Twitter at @AdamMKaufman
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