Joey Chestnut wins 16th Mustard Belt while waiting out the rain

Eating superstar Joey “Jaws” Chestnut braved a rain delay and scored another victory in Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, gobbling up 62 franks and buns in less than 10 minutes.

Chestnut beat runner-up Geoffrey Asper and the rest of the international field of 15 competing eaters by double digits to win his eighth consecutive Mustard Belt and 16th overall. Asper from Oxford, Massachusetts managed to eat 49 hot dogs and buns.

In the women’s competition, defending champion Miki Sudo forced 39½ hot dogs and buns to earn her ninth Mustard Belt. But before the men could compete, stormy weather hit New York City’s Coney Island and delayed the competition for two hours.

“What a roller coaster, emotionally,” Chestnut said after getting out of the rain and wondering if the famous competition would continue at all. The 39-year-old from Westfield, Indiana first competed for Nathan’s title in 2005 and has not lost it since 2015.

He ate 63 hot dogs and buns on his way to winning the title last year, but came up short. A protester dressed in a Darth Vader costume came on stage, and Chestnut put him in a headlock before security took control.

His best performance was in 2021, when he achieved 76 hot dogs, but Tuesday’s weather disruption made a repeat of that impossible.

“Everybody got messed up,” said Chestnut.

Sudo defeated Mayoi Ebihara’s 33½ hot dogs in 10 minutes in the women’s event, which looked very close until the final count was announced. Unofficial real-time counters showed the two leaders on equal footing for most of the contest. The score was decided by the final count of the plates.

Sudo, 37, was disappointed with his winning total, which was nine hot dogs short of his all-time high. He said the competition from 27-year-old Ebihara had frustrated him.

Sudo, of Port Richey, Florida, said after the contest, “In the first few minutes, I found myself watching, which I never want to do. I never want to be distracted by other competitors.” “Seeing him, I waved my hands. I had a big belch in the beginning, but I was able to get over it.”

The annual competition at Coney Island featured competitors from England, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, and Australia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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