Nathan’s hot dog eating contest crowns Miki Sudo women’s chompion, with men’s competition in question due to weather

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Miki Sudo ate 39.5 hot dogs to win her ninth straight title in the women’s side of the annual Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Tuesday, but a lightning storm and torrential rains forced the delay of the men’s competition and Joey Chestnut’s attempt to win his 16th title.

The gluttonous Independence Day event brought thousands of people to Coney Island, New York, on Tuesday to watch competitive eaters scarf down as many hot dogs as their stomachs allow in just 10 minutes.

However, a major rain and lightning storm hit Coney Island shortly before the men were set to come out to compete, scattering the crowds to shelter. ESPN, which is televising the event, said it was in a “weather delay” and that coverage of the contest would begin at 2 p.m. ET. CNN has reached out to organizers for more information.

The Weather Prediction Center had warned that heavy rainfall could produce flash flooding Tuesday from southern New York into New England, including New York City.

At about noon, a line of storms moved through the area. The National Weather Service issued a special weather statement warning of “strong thunderstorms” and “frequent cloud to ground lightning” in parts of Brooklyn, specifically mentioning Coney Island.

The women’s competition appeared close to the end between Sudo, the No. 1-ranked female competitive eater, and rookie Mayoi Ebihara. But a review from officials determined Ebihara finished 33.5 dogs, while Michelle Lesco took third with 24.5.

Sudo won last year’s title with 40 hot dogs and holds the women’s world record for eating 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes. After winning this year’s title, she expressed disappointment in her final tally.

“Thirty-nine is a lower number, though, I’m sorry guys,” she told the crowd.

Mayoi Ebihara and Miki Sudo compete in the Nathan's hot dog eating contest on Tuesday.

On the men’s side, the heavy favorite is Chestnut, who has won 15 of the last 16 Independence Day contests, including 63 hot dogs last year. He set a competition record with 76 dogs downed in 2021.

Speaking to CNN on Monday, Chestnut said he was ready to push himself to an “extreme” limit at the contest.

“I know that after this time I’m not going to feel great,” he said. “It’s going to take about four days to feel really normal, and the first 12 hours after the contest I’m going to feel like garbage. I go in knowing that and I’m willing to go through that because it’s an amazing contest, it’s the Fourth of July, and I’m going to do what it takes to get number 16.”

Chestnut is one of 16 eaters competing in the men’s division, along with other top-ranking eaters including Geoffrey Esper, Nick Wehry, and Gideon Oji.

The aspiring hot dog champs faced off at Nathan’s Famous flagship restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island on the edge of south Brooklyn in New York City.

The event began with pre-show festivities, including music and dance performances, according to the Professional League of Eating Contests, which sanctions the event.

Eaters need to be 18 or older to enter and must have participated in a qualifying event in May or June. Nathan’s hosted four qualifying events for the big show, with the top male and female finishers from each receiving invitations to the July 4 showdown.

Each contestant has their own scorekeeper to monitor their running total, according to CNN affiliate WABC. Water and other beverages, as well as condiments, are allowed. Penalties can be issued for “messy eating and regurgitation,” reports WABC.

The top eater in each category takes home $10,000, according to WABC. Second place takes $5,000, third place gets $2,500, fourth place gets $1,500, and fifth place wins $1,000. Each champion will also receive the coveted Mustard Belt.


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