Fourth of July will be here soon and, along with the usual baseball game or 4th of July fireworks to celebrate, comes the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Nathan’s Famous marks its 100th anniversary this year, just ten days shy of National Hot Dog Day, commemorating the legendary first hot dog eating competition that took place at Coney Island July 4, 1916. While Nathan’s turns one hundred years old, winners of the 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Matt “Megatoad” Stonie and Miki Sudo, will defend their crowns and compete for a piece of the $40,000 prize purse.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Prize Money
The total prize purse for Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is $40,000, but winners don’t take home the full amount. Starting in 2007, Major League Eating — which governs the hot dog eating competition — started paying out cash prizes to the top finishers. From the $40,000 purse for the 2015 contest, Stonie and Sudo each snagged $10,000.
Sudo won the cash prize and coveted Nathan’s Mustard Belt the last two years in a row. Stonie, on the other hand, won his first title in 2015, upsetting the 8-time consecutive champion Joey Chestnut. Though unseated, Chestnut still holds the record for most hot dogs eaten, devouring 69 of them in 2013.
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For something as prestigious as Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not just anyone can enter the competition. Contestants must compete in one of at least 10 qualifying events held from March to June in various cities across the U.S. to earn a chance at the championship on July 4 — and the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest prize money.
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Prizes and Purse Payouts
Sam Barclay of Major League Eating (MLE) and emcee of the July 4 event told GOBankingRates that the total Nathan’s hot dog contest prize money in 2016 will be $40,000. This amount is to be split in half with $20,000 going to the men’s winners and $20,000 to the female champions. Among those two groups, the $20,000 is broken down five ways according to where competitors place:
- First place: $10,000
- Second place: $5,000
- Third place: $2,500
- Fourth place: $1,500
- Fifth place: $1,000
Hot Dog Eating: How People Make a Living
It’s certainly an odd lifestyle, but competitive eating can pay well, if done correctly. Many eating contests offer up cash prizes. Joey Chestnut, for example, has won over $500,000 in the last decade from competitive eating. He did, however, have to branch out beyond hot dogs to do this, scoring big prizes such as $15,000 for winning the Wing Bowl in 2007 by eating 182 wings and $20,000 for eating 93 burgers at the Krystal Square Off finals in 2008.
The defending Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champ Matt Stonie has done well for himself too. He’s raked in nearly $120,000 in winnings since 2009, including $2,000 from his most recent victory in May 28 at the World Silver Dollar Pancake Eating Championship. He ate 113 pancakes.
Miki Sudo, who overthrew Sonya Thomas and her three consecutive years as champion, has won over $88,000 since 2011. Besides first-place finishes in the 2014 and 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Sudo scored $5,000 at the 2013 Wing Bowl Las Vegas Finals and another $5,000 at the Foxwoods World Turkey-Eating Championship last November. Though she’s the reigning champion, Sudo can’t match Thomas’s winnings from competitive eating, which total more than $220,000 since 2003.
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Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: Event Details
- What: The 2016 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest
- When: Monday, July 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Where: Nathan’s Famous flagship restaurant, 1310 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11224
The 2016 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest initiates the fun at 10 a.m. on July 4th. At 10:45 a.m., the female contestants are introduced before the women’s contest at 11 a.m. The men’s event begins at noon, followed by the introduction of male contestants at 12:30 p.m. before the men’s contest begins at 12:40 p.m. Fans can watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on TV, with the women’s contest airing on ESPN3 at 10:50 a.m. EDT and the main event on ESPN3 at noon; you can also catch the hot dog eating competition later, on ESPN at 3 p.m. and on ESPN2 at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.