The world’s best competitive eaters will meet once again for a 4th of July tradition– the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which celebrates its 100th anniversary.
This year’s contestants are set to compete in front of thousands of spectators at Coney Island for $40,000 in total prize money, according to Major League Eating, the sport’s national organizing body. The first-place competitors in men’s and women’s contests will earn more than bragging rights– each winner will receive $10,000. Competitors have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs and buns as they can.
Defending champion Matt Stonie defeated eight-time winner Joey Chestnut by eating 62 hot dogs and buns last year. The two will face off once again on Monday afternoon. Will Stonie be able to beat Chestnut for a second consecutive year?
Here are five fast facts to know about Stonie:
1. Stonie Is the No. 1 Ranked Competitive Eater
Stonie is on top of the world of competitive eating, holding the number one ranking in Major League Eating.
He gained national recognition for dethroning eight-time defending champ and legendary eating competitor Joey Chestnut at last year’s July 4 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Chestnut, who is one of the sport’s most recognizable competitors, earns about $200,000 from prize money, sponsorships and public appearances, according to Forbes.
Stonie told CNN, he has been “very lucky,” and has earned a six-figure salary in competitive eating this year.
“It’s a little incredible to think that you are labeled, legitimately, as the best in the world at something,” Stonie told Forbes about being ranked as the world’s top professional eater.
“It’s an ego boost for sure, but knowing how hard I worked to get to this spot, how hard previous Best’s worked for their spot, and some of the boundaries we’ve broken through over the years, it’s more of a payoff than anything. Naturally there is more pressure being on top.”
2. His Net Worth Estimated at $400,000
In 2015, Stonie’s net worth was estimated to be $400,000 by The Net Worth.
Stonie was thrust into the spotlight when he won the 2015 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. However, a large source of his income has come from his YouTube channel. Over the past several years, he has built a large following on social media, especially from his YouTube channel where he uploads eating challenges.
A few of his videos have captured the attention of celebrities, including Bam Margera, Waka Flocka Flame, and Cheech & Chong, who have featured the videos on their websites and social media accounts.
As of July 2016, he has 1,777,279 subscribers on his YouTube channel, with that number growing on a weekly if not daily basis.
The YouTube earnings calculator estimates his daily revenue from video views is $1,219.06.
3. He Is the Youngest Member of the Major League Eating Organization
At 24 years old, Stonie is the youngest competitor in Major League Eating.
He told CNN he discovered he had a knack for competitive eating in college:
There was a local eating contest, lobster. Free lobster rolls, and $1,000 if you wanted to cash out. I was in college. I was like, why not? Why not just try and compete in this contest? A ringer, a kind of semi-professional guy, showed up. I ended up beating him. I ate 24 to his 23½.
Stonie made his debut in 2011 at the Stockton Deep Fried Asparagus Championship in California.
Since turning pro in 2011 at the young age of 19, Stonie has wowed the competitive eating circuit. The Major League Eating website describes Stonie as a fierce competitor, who is known for his “out-of-the-gate speed, often leaping ahead of the competition and setting a gap of speed and distance.”
About two days before the July 4 hot dog contest, Stonie will stop eating solid foods to prepare for the competition.
4. He Holds an Impressive List of World Eating Records
The 120-pound eating competitor has racked up quite a long list of world records in his short career.
The most recent of his 19 eating records was in November 2015 when he consumed 71 pork ribs in 5 minutes. Other notable record-setting achievements in 2015 include, eating 182 Slices of bacon in 5 minutes, downing 241 wings in 10 minutes, and eating 25 Big Macs in 22 minutes.
5. He Plans to Become a Dietitian
Stonie is from San Jose, California. He graduated from Evergreen Valley High School, and currently attends Mission College in Santa Clara, California majoring in nutrition. Stonie plans to become a dietitian.
Although competitive eating is a controversial subject when it comes to health, Stonie says it has pushed him to take his health more seriously in other ways.
He told CNN:
Doing such an extreme thing to my body has forced me to take better care of it the other 90% of the time. I see my doctor two or three times a year. He loves it. He says I’m healthier than 95% of his patients.
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