Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Winner Patrick Bertoletti Talks About Missing Joey Chestnut

The winners of this year’s Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest are letting all the glory sink in.

On July 5, men’s title winner Patrick Bertoletti and women’s title keeper Miki Suto both appeared at TODAY Plaza to continue celebrating after the July 4 event. During the competition, Bertoletti chowed down 58 hot dogs, while Sudo ate 51 hot dogs, breaking the women’s record.

When asked by TODAY’s Craig Melvin if he had any strategy in the hot dog eating contest, Bertoletti chalked it up to “bad genetics” but showed interest in eating.

“I don’t have to chew my food, I’m from Chicago, it’s a good hot dog town,” joked Bertoletti. “Nathan’s hot dogs are delicious, and I wouldn’t make it to the Fourth of July if I didn’t eat hot dogs.”

He quipped that the mustard belt slung over his shoulder didn’t suit him.

As Bertoletti spoke about her victory at the Plaza for the first time, Sudo was no stranger to reflecting on the day with Today’s co-hosts: It was the tenth time the women had won the title at Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Sudo’s husband, fellow competitive eater Nick Vehri, and their son, Max, joined her at the Plaza today to celebrate. Sudo said he enjoyed “behind every little win” and said “there’s a lot of support behind the scenes”.

On July 4, Bertoletti officially took the title from champion Joey Chestnut, who had previously been crowned winner of the annual tournament 16 times. Chestnut noted on social media in June that he would not be participating in this year’s event.

When asked if Chestnut’s absence from this year’s hot dog eating contest was felt, Bertoletti told TODAY that it was “a little weird.”

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“I’m good friends with him, we started eating together 18 years ago, so he’s not there, somebody has to step up and do it, I’m not complaining,” Bertoletti said.

During the July 4 match, 10 minutes after announcer George Shea welcomed each competitor to the stage, the mustard belt was placed around a new winner of the men’s division for the first time in eight years.

Shea raised Bertoletti’s hand in victory, and he held the shiny belt above his head. Her performance will mark her first career title.

The ESPN The announcers considered it the closest match since 2015.

Bertoletti was ranked 9th in the world. “Today was all about focus,” he told Shea. “I’m not going to stop eating until I’m done.”

She later said she felt like a bride-turned-groom at last. The competitive eater said it took her three months of training and she was in disbelief that she pulled it off.

“There was a rush. With Joey not being here, I knew I had a shot,” he shared. “I managed to open something. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m not complaining.”

Bertoletti called it a life-changing moment.

In the women’s division, Sudo captured her crown, bringing her total number of wins to 10 titles. Sudo is currently ranked The No. 1 competitive womanizer.

Fans at Coney Island were stunned as Bertoletti and Sudo tossed down numerous hot dogs in just 10 minutes.

Bertoletti managed to eat 58, his personal best, while Pseudo 51 wasn’t far behind with the hot dog and buns. Sudo also walked past her A personal (and world) achievement 48.5 hot dog he set in 2020.

“The 50 hot dog limit has been broken,” an ESPN announcer said in one clip. Uploaded to X The clock is off. Another announcer wondered if Sudo could compete in the men’s division in the future.

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An hour after winning, Sudo spoke about his historic performance.

“After 10 years of this, I still have more to show,” he said. “Women’s achievement is only going to improve from here, and there are many more exciting things to come.”

Asked what she’d like to eat now, she replied, “I’d probably look for something cool and refreshing. Maybe a fruit (or) soft serve.”

Sudo once again dominated the competition to claim the ketchup belt – followed by Mayoi Ebihara, who finished second after eating 37 hot dogs. Ebihara was runner-up when he debuted in the competition last year.

Last year, 35,000 visitors flocked to Coney Island to watch Sudo and Chestnut reclaim their titles, according to the American Hot Dog Company. During that time, Pseudo ate 39.5 hot dogs, while Chestnut, the current No. 1 competitive eater, managed to down 62 hot dogs in just 10 minutes.

While fans are excited to see this year’s winners, Chestnut’s absence from the annual event is notable. The former title holder, who holds the all-time record with 76 runs in 2021, said he was not allowed to compete because he was “banned” from the event for allegedly partnering with rival brand Nathan’s Famous.

“I am very disappointed to learn from the media today that after nearly 20 years, I have been banned from Nathan’s 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” he wrote. Instagram At the time. “I want to compete in that event, celebrate America on the 4th with my fans across this great country, and I’m training to defend my title.”

In response to the competitive eater’s claims that he was “banned,” Major League Eating (MLE) said in a statement to TODAY.com that was not accurate.

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“There is no barrier. Major League Eating wants him there. Fans love him. Nathan loves him there,” said MLE co-founder Richard Shea.

MLE sent a statement to TODAY.com saying, “We are devastated to learn that Joey Chestnut is representing a competing brand that sells plant-based hot dogs instead of competing in the 2024 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog. Food Contest.”

During the July 4 broadcast, the announcers repeatedly emphasized that the breakup between Chestnut and Nathan’s Hot Dogs was Chestnut’s “choice” this year, comparing it to the breakup of The Beatles. He last won the tournament last year in 2023.

The show also hinted at an upset in 2015 when the chestnut was defeated by Matt Stoney.

Before the match began, ESPN paid tribute to Chestnut and called him the “Babe Ruth of beef,” among other topics.

Although he didn’t make it to Nathan’s Famous, fans of competitive eating will enjoy watching Chestnut downing hot dogs on Independence Day. Chestnut competed against Soldiers in a five-minute hot-dog-eating event at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, as previously reported. Associated Press On June 27.

There will also be an annual 4th of July event called “Bob Goes the Fort.” feature Fireworks and performances by the El Paso Symphony Orchestra and the 1st Armored Division Band.

Correction (July 5, 2024, 10:10 am ET): An earlier version of this story misstated when Chestnut last won Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. The last time he won was not in 2015, but in 2023.

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