By now, you’ve almost certainly heard the results of this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: After watching young gun Matt Stonie put an end to his run of eight straight victories in 2015, Joey Chestnut returned with a vengeance in 2016, not only recapturing the most coveted hot dog title on Earth, but also setting a new event record: 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
But outside of the unfathomable numbers and funny nicknames, what is life on the Major League Eating circuit really like? Or, more specifically, what is the actual experience of eating competitively really like? Though we can analyze the superficial statistic of something like “he ate a hot dog every 8.5 seconds,” it’s not often you hear a pro eater discuss how the experience feels internally: mentally and emotionally.
It’s what makes the above video from Great Big Story so intriguing. The YouTube channel asked Crazy Legs Conti (no apostrophes; that’s his legal name now) what it’s like to eat hot dogs for sport. In a mere two minutes, Major League Eating’s 20th highest ranked competitor breaks it down with a level of enlightening insight I’ve never heard before – not that I’ve watched many professional eaters pontificate. Maybe I’m the problem?
Turns out, yes, there is more to it than just growing some crazy facial hair and eating as fast as you can. Though I’m pretty sure the former doesn’t hurt.