Nathan’s Famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest will go on – with a few coronavirus changes

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If you are missing sports due to coronavirus and relish the chance to watch something competitive, we have good news for you.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will air as usual this Fourth of July at noon on ESPN.

The frank fest will be one of the first major televised post-COVID-19 competitive events to be held in the U.S., according to WABC.

The annual contest, which takes place on Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, will go on in a private location without fans.

There will only be five entrants this year, instead of the usual 15,  WLNY reported.

Nathan’s Famous Senior Vice President James Walker told WABC. “2020 has been a year for the history books, and the realization that this storied July 4 tradition would be able to occur, is a great feeling. With that being said, our country and our world has endured so much in the last couple of months, that we’d be remiss if we didn’t use this moment to honor those that have done so much for each of us during this time.”

The first-ever unofficial contest took place in 1916, when, legend says, “four immigrants gathered at the very first Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand in Coney Island and made eating contest history,” according to Nathan’s Famous website. “As the story goes, they were competing to see who was the most patriotic. How did they determine the winner? With a hot dog-eating contest, of course!”

The contest is a 10-minute sprint in which competitors usually eat the buns and hot dogs separately, dunking the buns in water to help them consume them faster.

Last year, Joey Chestnut ate 71 hot dogs to win the men’s side, while Miki Sudo downed 31 on the way to her sixth straight women’s title.

Chestnut has held the title of reigning champ a total of 12 times — eight consecutive years from 2007 to 2014 and from 2016-2019.

He holds the record for most hot dogs eaten: 74 franks in 2018. Three-time winner Sonya Thomas set the women’s record of 43 in 2011.

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