It's a Fourth of July spectacle that's always rife with hyperbole, nonsense and gluttony, but the 2013 edition of the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest was an historic one.
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut was looking to capture his seventh Nathan's championship, which would make him the most decorated competitor in the history of the event.
Here's how the final two minutes unfolded, beginning with reporter Renee Herlocker, then Paul Page and Richard Shea on the call:
Chestnut finished with a downright disgusting 69 hot dogs eaten in ten minutes, setting the world record and capturing that seventh title. The original hot dog eating superstar, Takeru Kobayashi, won six Nathan's titles in his heyday but hasn't competed there in three years due to a contract dispute with Major League Eating.
The men’s final was broadcast on ESPN2 (and TSN2 in Canada), to accommodate Wimbledon coverage on the main network. It aired live on ESPN from 2003 to 2012.
The “pre-game” portion of the broadcast featured a Sport Science-style breakdown of Chestnut’s technique, The Valsalva Maneuver. Here’s how it looked, in GIF form:
A feature about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on Coney Island also aired before the men's event. This was the first contest since the storm ravaged the region in October of last year.
Long-time emcee George Shea was joined on stage by the Brooklyn Community Chorus for a stirring introduction, which reinforced the island's perseverance and featured the typical tongue-in-cheek mythological references:
The women’s event was won by three-time champion Sonya Thomas, or as Page hilariously dubbed her, "the Ayn Rand of the salivary gland."
After Chestnut's historic performance, he spoke with Herlocker:
Sixty-nine sure is a magic number, but Chestnut is reportedly looking to eat 70 next year and then retire.
If this guy doesn't represent what America is all about, I don't know who does.