As the Fourth of July rapidly approaches, I too am anxious for several of the traditions that surround the day we celebrate our Independence, but there is no better way to start the holiday than watching the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Competition on ESPN.

The annual competition has been going on since 1916, and draws thousands of people from all over the world. The competition is now sponsored by Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs and is held on Coney Island, N.Y.

The competition allows it's contestants 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs as they can. As you may be able to predict, this competition is a mess. Competitors are allowed to drink water while shoving the hot dogs down their throat, and yes, if you are wondering sometimes things do go as planned.

The event draws thousands of spectators to the Nathan's Famous restaurant and has been broadcast on ESPN since 2004. For years, this is how I have started my Fourth of July. I tune-in each and every year hoping to get a better understanding of how some of these competitors can eat so many hot dogs, yet I am always left scratching my head asking, "How did they just do that?"

According to ESPN, Joey Chestnut is the defending and five-time champion, having won his fifth consecutive title in 2011. He holds the world record for eating 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.


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