16-Time Hot Dog Eating Champion Is Banned From Fourth of July Contest At Nathan’s Hot Dogs

Joey Chestnut is the reigning champion of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, having won all but one of the competitions every year since 2007. In the 2021 contest, he ate 76 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes, one of the 55 competitive eating world records he currently holds. Last year, he fell short of his own record, but still put away an impressive 63 hot dogs. This year, however, he is banned from participating in the contest. That’s because he signed an endorsement deal with Impossible Foods, a plant-based meat company. Nathan’s Famous prohibits eaters from endorsing competitor hot dog brands, so Chestnut will miss out on holding onto his record. George Shea, the hot dog eating contest organizer said of Chestnut’s endorsement: “It would be like Michael Jordan saying to Nike, ‘I’m going to represent Adidas, too.’” Impossible Foods said it supports Chestnut in any contest he chooses, adding that “meat eaters shouldn’t have to be exclusive to just one wiener.” New York Mayor Eric Adams chimed in, telling Nathan’s to “stop being such weenies,” and calling for them to allow Chestnut to take part in the July 4th contest.