Now that our post-cookout stomachs have settled and our post-fireworks ears recovered, it's time to look at one of the strangest traditions to take place on Independence Day: the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
The annual competitive eating contest held at New York City amusement park Coney Island pits gut against gut as competitors try to eat the most hot dogs, buns and all, in 10 minutes. This July 4, the competition celebrated its centennial, with a full 100 years (kind of — more on that later) of chowing down on tubemeat.
This past Monday 32-year-old California native Joey "Jaws" Chestnut reclaimed the title, wolfing down an astonishing 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes. That's one hot dog every 8.6 seconds.
Chestnut unseated reigning champ Matt Stoney, who this year managed to down only 53 franks in the allotted time. This is Chestnut's ninth win, and this year he broke his 2013 world record of 69 dogs in 10 minutes.
"Last year was rough but as I was leaving, everybody was, 'Oh, it's going to make the next year better,'" Chestnut told reporters after clinching the win. "Everybody was right. This year's the best year ever!"
New York-born Miki Sudo, the reigning women's champ, held on to the title she's defended since first winning in 2014. Sudo ate 38-and-a-half hot dogs this year, a few links short of 45, the women's world record set in 2012 by Sonya Thomas.
Oh, and remember how we mentioned this was the 100th anniversary of the hot dog contest? You'll see that "fact" plastered all over signs and promotional banners in the video above. While the Nathan's legend holds that the first contest took place in 1916 with four immigrants trying to out-patriot one another, here's the truth: publicity icons Mortimer Matz and Max Rosey invented the stunt in the early 1970s, creating a fake backstory for the Coney Island competition.