clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The history of the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating contest

Stuffing hot dogs into our mouths is what our forefathers fought for

If you buy something from a Polygon link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Annual Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest Held On July 4th Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

This week on The History of Fun, we celebrate our country’s 242nd birthday just the way George Washington would have wanted: by exploring the grand, slightly gross world of competitive hot dog-eating.

Some people get overzealous with presenting their meaty gift to America. Those people are the winners of Nathan’s Fourth of July Got Dog Eating Contest, an annual competition that’s become a nationwide phenomenon. Fun Historian Chris Plante is no competitor, but he’s studied this extreme show of digestive fortitude extensively. How do these patriots chomp down so many dogs in so little time? Who’s the reigning champ? And where can we sign up?

You’ll hear all this and more on this week’s episode, below. (And if you’re nervous that there will be talk of some ... bodily functions, don’t worry; we give ample warning first.)

Special thanks to everyone who participated in our new segment, Reader Only Memories, wherein we share listener stories about the topic at hand. Here is the full thread of responses:

Enjoying The History of Fun? Be sure to rate and subscribe on Apple Podcasts! Every rating and review is a big help to us, getting the word out to more listeners.

New to The History of Fun? Every Monday, Russ Frushtick, Allegra Frank and Chris Plante explore the hidden backstories behind the things we love to do. Ever wonder where dodgeball came from? Or the origins of the creepy Chuck E. Cheese robots? Or how about why Beanie Babies exploded and then vanished into the sands of time? We’ll seek to answer those questions and have some fun along the way! Subscribe and join us — we’d love to have you.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon