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How to watch the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest

<i>Kena Betancur/Getty Images</i><br/>Competitors chow down during Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4
Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Competitors chow down during Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4

By Zoe Sottile, CNN

(CNN) — Thousands of people will gather at Coney Island on Tuesday to watch competitive eaters scarf down mountains of sausages and buns during the annual Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Competitors will have just 10 minutes to devour as many wieners as they can for a shot at hot dog glory. The Fourth of July tradition has developed a cult following and millions are expected to tune in to watch it on ESPN. Here’s everything you need to know about the great sausage competition.

Where and when is the contest?

The aspiring hot dog champs will face 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 will start with pre-show festivities at 10 a.m. ET, including music and dance performances, according to the Professional League of Eating Contests, which sanctions the event.

The women’s competition will kick off at 11 a.m. and the men’s competition will start at 12:30 p.m.

How does the competition work?

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 will have 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.

What’s the prize?

The top dog in each category will take home $10,000, according to WABC. Second place will take $5,000, third place will get $2,500, fourth place will net $1,500, and fifth place will win $1,000. Each champion will also receive the coveted Mustard Belt.

Who’s favored to win?

The eater to watch in the men’s competition is reigning champion Joey Chestnut, who has won 15 of the 16 last Independence Day contests. Last year, Chestnut took home the prize after cramming down 63 hot dogs in the 10-minute window.

He set a personal record with 76 dogs swallowed in 2021. He’s one of 16 eaters competing in the men’s division, along with other top-ranking eaters including Geoffrey Esper, Nick Wehry, and Gideon Oji.

Miki Sudo, the No. 1-ranked female competitive eater, will also defend her title. She munched down 40 hot dogs and buns last year to take home the top prize. Sudo holds the women’s world record for eating 48.5 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Fifteen women will compete for the title this year, including Michelle Lesco, Larell Marie Mele and Katie Prettyman.

How to watch

If you can’t make it to Coney Island for Independence Day, don’t worry – you can still watch competitors gobble hot dogs from afar. ESPN is exclusively broadcasting the event, with coverage starting at 10:45 a.m. ET.

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