Competitors take part in Nathan’s famous 4th of July hot dog eating contest

NEW YORK – Tens of thousands of people are expected to converge on Coney Island for the holiday weekend, and no 4th of July celebration would be complete without the hot dog eating contest.

CBS2’s Steve Overmyer was on hand Friday as the top dogs weighed in.

The world’s best eaters were weighed and measured and found they wanted more hot dogs.

“I can’t wait. It’s such a surge of energy, to compete in front of the crowd. I really feed off the screams, screams and cheers. It’s a great feeling,” said Miki Sudo, the highest ranked eater. .

For the first time in three years, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will once again welcome 25,000 fans to Surf and Stillwell.

“When Joey Chestnut is introduced, we’re going to raise the roof. I’m talking about the sky dome coming down,” said MLE emcee George Shea.

Shea’s over-the-top presentation sets the tone for the event, and year after year we all come together to laugh.

“It’s a real contest. It’s incredibly tough, but it’s also very light, very fun, very silly, and it’s just perfect for the 4th of July,” Shea said.

“Is this a celebration of absurdity?” asked Overmyer.

“It’s a celebration of absurdity. When you see me rapping with Badlands Booker, we’re into absurdity,” Shea said.

Joey Chestnut is the undisputed 14-time mustard yellow belt holder. He seemingly sets a new record every year, but this year the champ is on the ropes with a foot injury.

“You have an injury, and injuries can always be a game-changer,” Overmyer said.

“I think I feel better than I look. I look pretty hard in the leg, but I’m going to go out, and I’m going to be hungry and I’m going to eat. It’s something that I like to do, and this 4th of July, I’m going to push,” Chestnut said.

It’s become the biggest Fourth of July sporting event, as synonymous with the holiday as football is with Thanksgiving.

“It’s great that you mention the hot dog contest in the same sentence as the NFL on Thanksgiving… We’re Americans. We love sports, we love food, and we love America,” Chestnut said.

And nothing honors the birth of America better than a little indulgence.

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