The Wild Rules At Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

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Every Fourth of July marks the return of Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York with a $10,000 grand prize and a lot of crazy rules that you may not be aware of.

The contest now is televised on ESPN and 35,000 people show up in person to view the spectacle. The contest has also made now 15-time champion competitive eater Joey Chestnut a celebrity in his own right. Last year, he ate 76 hot dogs to break his existing record and this year, Chestnut won with a 63-dog tally.

But did you know that there are actually strict rules in place for the annual event and Sam Barclay, Director of Operations at Major League Eating (MLE) (yes, there IS such an outfit) went over the requirements.

  • Competitors must qualify to participate – must be 18 years of age and eaters must be invited and ranked by MLE. There were two qualifying events this year, June 18th in Pleasanton, CA and June 25th in Washington, D.C.
  • Men and women eaters must compete separately
  • Hot dogs must be consumed within a specific time – There’s a 10-minute limit to the contest.
  • Hot dogs must be consumed in a certain order – Hot dogs are plated five hot dogs and buns to a plate and eaters have to finish one plate before moving on to the next one.
  • Competitors are not allowed to use utensils – This is self-explanatory, especially when you see the entrants cramming the hot dogs down their throats by hand.
  • Hot dogs don’t have to be consumed whole – The hot dog and bun can be separated and the hot dog and bun can actually be snapped in half.

Some of the other rules that apply are:

  • Competitors have to eat the same number of hot dogs and buns to count
  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted
  • The hot dogs must be swallowed for them to count
  • If a competitor throws up they are disqualified
  • Condiments are a no-no

Source: People

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