The 96th edition of Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, sponsored by Nathan's Famous, will take place this Monday and will be held in Coney Island, New York. Competitors try to eat as many hot dogs as they can in ten minutes, and the annual contest will feature a separate women's competition for the first time ever ahead of the men's competition.
The event draws as many as 40,000 spectators to Nathan's Famous to watch the competition live, and it is also broadcast on ESPN. Four-time defending champion Joey Chestnut set the world record in 2009 when he devoured 68 hot dogs in ten minutes.
Two local competitors, Erik "The Red" Denmark and Michelle Lesco, punched their tickets to New York when they won the Tempe qualifier at Arizona Mills Mall on June 11th. During the ten minutes, Denmark scarfed down 29 hot dogs with buns to secure his second consecutive win at the Tempe qualifier. Lesco, a resident of Tucson, ate 21.5 hot dogs to claim victory and earn her spot in Monday's competition.
Both will get their shot at the big guns on Monday. The Women's Championship will be broadcast live on ESPN3 starting at 8:30 a.m. Pacific time, and the Men's Championship will be broadcast on ESPN starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time.