Joey Chestnut returned to the top of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Monday, scoring a record 15th victory in the annual Fourth of July contest.
The 37-year-old devoured 63 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, a far cry from last year’s record of 76.
The figure still outnumbers Chestnut’s closest competitor, Geoffrey Esper, by 20 dogs.
Chestnut shocked the competitive eating world on Friday when he revealed his official weight On crutches. He had to sit out a medical on Monday due to a hamstring injury.
Monday’s victory marked the first time since 2019 that the tournament has been held at its regular location on Surf Avenue and Stilwell Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Last year’s tournament was a limited-entry, ticketed event at nearby Maimonides Baseball Stadium, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Chestnut’s win on Monday marked his 15th win in the tournament.
Ranked the No. 1 competitive eater in the world by Major League Eating, the former California resident has won all but one Nathan’s competition since 2006.
Eight-time champion Miki Sudo Earlier on Sunday, she won the women’s hot dog competition.
Longtime fans expressed relief and excitement at the return to the premier venue for this year’s tournament.
“It’s a tradition in my family to come here every 4th of July, so here we are,” said Daphne, 26, of Brownsville.
Joe Maney, 32, who lives in the neighborhood, doesn’t expect the event to return to “normal”.
“I always come to Coney Island on the Fourth of July for this tournament, so it’s great to come back in person coming out of the pandemic, because I don’t think the world will ever go back to normal,” he said.
“Friend of animals everywhere. Devoted analyst. Total alcohol scholar. Infuriatingly humble food trailblazer.”