Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest 2021: Watch Joey Chestnut Win Sixth Straight Title in Epic Fashion

by Emily Morgan

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an official King of Coney Island. For the 14th consecutive year in a row, Joey Chestnut has won Nathan’s world Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest. In front of hundreds of mesmerizing eyes, Chestnut crushed the competition. He devoured a new record of 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes— sealing his title as hot dog dominator. 

Chestnut, who goes by the nickname “Jaws,” put on another epic eating show that won him the coveted Mustard Belt. In second place, Geoffrey Esper gave it a good go, guzzling down 50 franks. 

Chestnut has officially won 14 of the last 15 hot dog eating contests since taking down Takeru Kobayashi in 2007, with his only loss in 2015 to Matt Stonie. Kobayashi was a six-time defending champion. 

Chestnut’s eating ability was unrivaled at the annual Independence Day event as his average pace hit a new record. He was recorded at downing 30 hot dogs in three minutes. He’s now eaten a record 1,089 hot dogs. 

Joey Chestnut Locks in 14th Overall Win

This year’s contest returned to the iconic Coney Island with a crowd of fans watching as Chestnut broke barriers domineering the dogs. “This is what I love. I love eating in front of people and they love pushing me,” Chestnut said on ESPN before the competition began. “I’m just a guy that eats hot dogs and have fun. I’m just so happy to be doing this.”

Last year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 37-year-old continued to reach new heights. Although there was no cheering crowd in attendance, he set a world record of 75 hot dogs last year at a private COVID-19-friendly location. 

During an interview with the Boston Globe in 2012, he opened up about the athleticism involved in the sport. “This sport isn’t about eating. It’s about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day, hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind.

As for the new Queen of Coney Island, that title belongs to competitive eater Michelle Lesco. At this year’s competition, she wolfed down 30.75 dogs and buns in 10 minutes. 

Lesco, a native of Tuscon, Arizona, out-ate the second-place finisher, Sarah Rodriguez, by more than seven hot dogs. With just six minutes left in the competition, the 37-year-old had a narrow lead with 15-13. However, she managed to hold her lead in the final minutes. She was also unable to jump— something many competitors will do to aid in their digestion due to a torn ACL.

The 112-pound athlete is also a former roommate of seven-time reigning champion Miki Sudo. Sudo did not compete this year because she’s pregnant. 

Larell Marie Mele, who came second at the 2020 competition, finished third, woofing down 18.25 hot dogs.