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Participants in hot dog eating contest weigh in before event

July 4 marks the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. One champion explained to Scripps News how she trains for the competition.
Participants in hot dog eating contest weigh in before event
Posted at 1:11 PM, Jul 03, 2023

One day before the best competitive hot dog eaters in the world gather in New York for the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, they weighed in before surely adding a few pounds on Tuesday. 

Competitors have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs and buns as they can. 

The competition features reigning men's champion Joey Chestnut, who is looking for his 16th crown in 17 years. He is two years removed from setting the competition's record of devouring 76 hot dogs. 

Chestnut ate 63 hot dogs a year ago, but his number might have been higher had he not placed a protester in a chokehold during the competition. 

On the women's side, Miki Sudo is looking for her ninth title in the last decade. After missing the 2021 competition due to being pregnant, she reclaimed her title in 2022 by consuming 40 hot dogs. 

She set the women's record for the competition by consuming 48.5 hot dogs in 2020. 

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It takes time to train for the competition. Sudo told Scripps News' "Morning Rush" she has three components to her training. 

"There's practicing with food, which a lot of people see on social media. You line up 10 minutes worth of hot dogs and just practice like you play," she said. "The other part is in the gym. I like to get my cardio endurance up so that I can fight really hard in the New York heat. And the third part is the mental component. I go back and rewatch my tapes. I really anticipate the mental challenges that I'm going to encounter during the contest."

Sudo said that despite winning last year, she was disappointed by her 2022 performance. She hopes to come out stronger this year, and perhaps break 50 for the first time. 

Sudo mostly enjoys eating hot dogs with condiments like sauerkraut, onions or kimchi. Instead, during the contest she'll be dunking her hot dogs in liquid to consume them faster.

"I'm really lucky because I happen to very much enjoy hot dogs," she said. "The only difference being I don't like to dunk my buns in warm flavored liquid — I eat them normally — but hot dogs are delicious. I enjoy them year-round.

"So, you know, tomorrow, I mean, honestly, we wouldn't be putting up numbers this large if the food didn't taste good."

Winners of the men's competition and women's competition each get $10,000.

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