Nathan’s Famous has unveiled the official list of sites that will host hot dog eating contests to qualify competitive eaters who will participate in the annual Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Nathan’s Famous on Brooklyn’s Coney Island.
The Nathan’s Famous qualifying tour stops in four new cities this year. It is also premiering at NASCAR events, including the annual Speed Street celebration in Charlotte, N.C.; Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.; and Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. Nathan’s Famous will host its first-ever qualifier at Busch Stadium prior to a St. Louis Cardinals game in May. This year’s circuit begins on April 26th in Las Vegas and stops at 12 other cities before the final event takes place on July 4, 2014 at the Nathan’s Famous flagship in Coney Island.
The top male and top female finishers from each qualifier will earn a spot to compete in the ESPN-televised finals at the original Nathan’s Famous, a holiday tradition since 1916. In recent years, an estimated 40,000 fans have traveled to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in person. The live telecast of the event has consistently attracted millions of viewers since ESPN first aired the contest in 2004, company officials say.
Joey Chestnut of San Jose, Calif. holds the world record for eating 69 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes in 2013, and he will seek his eighth straight title this year. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va. will defend her title as Female Champion; she consumed 36 ¾ Hot Dogs and Buns in 10 minutes last year.
Host cities of the 2014 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit include Las Vegas, Nev.; Boston; St. Paul, Minn.; Sonoma, Calif.; St. Louis, Mo.; Cleveland, Ohio; Tunica, Miss.; Bloomingdale, Ill.; Savannah, Ga.; Houston, Texas; and Charlotte, N.C.; Citifield in Queens, N.Y.; and at State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J.
According to archives, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island, NY since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the legendary restaurant, officials say. Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Circuit and ensures the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.
Those interested in competing in a Nathan’s Famous qualifier should visit www.nathansfamous.com to obtain information and register. All competitors must be over 18 years of age.
Official Listing of the 2014 Nathan’s Famous Qualifiers:
April 26th Las Vegas, Nev. (New York-New York Hotel & Casino)
May 3rd Houston, Texas (Memorial Mall)
May 17th St. Louis, Mo. (Busch Stadium)
May 24th Charlotte, N.C. (Speed Street celebration)
May 31st Bloomingdale, Ill. (Kmart)
June 1st St. Paul, Minn. (Dixie’s Stage, 695 Grand Avenue)
June 7th Long Pond, Pa. (Pocono Raceway)
June 7th Savannah, Ga. (River Street)
June 15th Queens, N.Y. (Citifield Plaza)
June 21st Boston, Mass. (Government Center, Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party)
June 21st East Rutherford, N.J. (State Fair Meadowlands)
June 22nd Sonoma, Calif, (Sonoma Raceway)
June 29th Cleveland, Ohio (Crocker Park Shopping Center)