Nick Wehry, who will be making his second appearance in the 2019 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in New York on July 4th, is a married father and competitive bodybuilder.
The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, in which competitors eat ferociously for the coveted “Mustard Belt” and the $10,000 top prize, has taken place annually since 1916.
According to Nathan’s, in recent years, an estimated 35,000 fans of the event have made the pilgrimage to the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island to watch the contest in person and cheer on competitive eaters like Wehry.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Wehry, a Bodybuilder, Got His Start in Competitive Eating Through a Paczki Contest
When he’s not eating competitively, Wehry is working as a competitive bodybuilder. In a podcast episode from Big Play, Wehry said competitive bodybuilding breeds binge-eating disorders. He said that after his first few competitions, he would go to Wendy’s and eat “seven or eight sandwiches,” which became an inside joke among his friends.
One friend later suggested he enter a local paczki eating contest, for which the prize was $200. Wehry swiftly won and, in doing so, got a bunch free donuts. That contest kicked off his competitive eating career, which he has only been doing for about a year.
According to Nathan’s, Wehry earned his spot at this year’s contest by winning the regional qualifier in Cape Coral, Florida, by smashing 34 dogs in 10 minutes.
“I came here to chew bubblegum….and kick ass….and I’m all out of gum…….not the performance we were looking for but pulled out the W nonetheless,” Wehry wrote on Facebook. “Punched that ticket #roadtoconey.”
FOX61, out of Hartford, Connecticut, called Whery a ” true rising star of Major League Eating.”
2. Nick, Who Competed in the 2018 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Is Also a Diet Coach
When he’s not bodybuilding or eating hotdogs, Wehry works as a diet coach, according to Major League Eating. His LinkedIn page says that Wehry has worked as a “diet/contest prep coach” from 2015 to present. He’s self-employed.
“I offer diet, training and nutrition counseling for those looking to compete in physique based competition or those just looking to improve their own health and wellness and lead a better life,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
Last year, Wehry made his debut appearance at the famous hot dog eating contest. According to Major League Eating, he took 10th place, putting away 31 hot dogs, less than half of the victor Joey Chesnut.
Wehry recently ate alongside Chesnut and Stonie on June 19,2019, for this year’s Hooter’s World Wing Eating Championship. Chestnut took second place, having devoured 256 wings in 10 minutes. Stonie took third place after eating 234 wings, and Wehry took fourth after eating 223.
3. Nick is a Self Proclaimed ‘Proud Dad’ & ‘Professional Fatsh*t’
According to his Twitter bio, Wehry is a “proud dad” and “professional fatsh*t.” He lives in Torrington, Connecticut with his wife Sarah and their two children, four-year-old Sylvie and one-year-old William.
While he does have a ravenous appetite, Wehry said that when he’s with his children he eats like a normal human. He doesn’t want his kids to think he is a “savage” or that eating 42 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes is “normal behavior.” They don’t come to his competitions and he doesn’t train in front of them.
Next week, Wehry will try once again to dethrone the reigning champion, Joey Chesnut, who scarfed 74 hot dogs at last years contest. Chesnut has taken first place for the past three years in a row and has won the contest 11 times in total.
Victory will be no easy feat, as Wehry will also be eating alongside other impressive competitors like Carmen Cincotti and Matt Stonie, who have consistently challenged Chesnut for the title. Wehry is hoping to place in the top five, eating somewhere around 40 dogs.
4. Nick, Who Once Chugged a 13 Pound Protein Shake, Is a Manager at a Vitamin Store
Wehry is also a store manager for a vitamin store, according to his LinkedIn page. He has worked there in various capacities since 2013. His LinkedIn page also lists time at Connecticut State University under education.
“So, I’m just a health and fitness guy. I manage a local Vitamin Shoppe, and am very active in bodybuilding, fitness, and physique-type contests as well. I’ve competed, and do lifestyle coaching as well, predominantly working with competitors on their diet, supplementation and training programs,” he told Front Office Sports.
In a video posted by Major League Eating on June 6, 2019, Wehry can be seen chugging “the biggest protein shake ever done on YouTube.” He wore a red tank top that said “pumped enough for pizza” as he gulped the 13-pound peanut butter and a chocolate protein shake. He filled four 7-Eleven Double Gulp cups to the brim and got to work.
Wehry gave the statistics of his drink, which were 1.5 gallons, 13 pounds, 3,100 calories, 598 grams of protein, 94 grams of carbohydrates, and 32 grams of fat. He drank the shake in under two minutes.
The video, which has been viewed over 2,500 times, states that Wehry is ranked as the fifteenth best eater in the world.
5. Nick has Competed in a Variety of Eating Contests & Trains at Buffets
According to his social media, Wehry has participated in all sorts of eating competitions. He competed in a pretzel eating contest at The Malted Barley Providence on Saturday, June 8th, 2019.
He told Front Office Sports that he trains at buffets, saying, “I’ll go to the buffet, bring a scale, and see how much I can put away, or I’ll do it at home, and try to add capacity every time. That’s not to say everybody does that, but that’s what helped me progress and be able to have a true capacity four to five times the average person.”
Wehry became the first winner of “The Challenge Bowl” and $300 gift certificate at Phở 135 on June 1, 2019. His time was 20 minutes.
Wehry competed in the 2019 Sweet Corn National Championship, in which he placed third. He ate 35.5 ears of corn.