One competitor won his 15th contest and another reclaimed her title as the world’s top ranked female eater during the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Monday.
Joey Chestnut, 38, who is known as “Jaws” and holds 50 world records in eating competitions, finished first after gobbling 63 hot dogs.
Miki Sudo, the world’s No. 1 ranked female eater who sat out the women’s contest last year because she was pregnant, came in first after wolfing down 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes. She beat Michelle Lesco, 38, who won in 2021.
“What better place to take the title back?” Ms. Sudo said from the stage after the competition, as she held her son, Max. “This has been an amazing comeback.”
The contest, which was held at alternate locations the past two years because of the pandemic, returned to Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, a venue as storied as “the parquet floor of Boston Garden,” said Rich Shea, the president of Major League Eating, on ESPN, which broadcast the competition.
The return of the contest to Coney Island attracted thousands of spectators who flocked to the original Nathan’s location to watch the competition.
Spectators carried signs that read, “Don’t Throw Up” and “Tastes Like Freedom” and others wore hot dog costumes as they cheered on the eaters, who came from around the country, as well as Australia and the United Kingdom to compete.
George Shea, the host of the contest and a founder of Major League Eating, hailed the competition as “a battle of the titans, the early gods,” as a choir of singers in white robes sang behind him.
“We are back,” he shouted. “We are back, Brooklyn!”
Kristen Thomlan, 31, traveled three hours from Coventry, Rhode Island the night before to see her first Nathan’s competition in person.
“I wanted to see a legend and maybe see a world record broken,” Ms. Thomlan said referring to Mr. Chestnut.
Ms. Sudo, who competed with an injured wrist, did not beat her personal record of 48.5 hot dogs, but she kept well ahead of the 12 other challengers during the contest. Halfway through the event, she had eaten more than 20 hot dogs, while the next competitor had only consumed 16.
By the final minute, Ms. Sudo was the clear winner, having scarfed down 40 hot dogs. That left Ms. Lesco competing for second place against Sarah Rodriguez, 35, a bodybuilder from Seattle, Wash.
Ms. Lesco, who ate 26 hot dogs, came in second. Ms. Rodriguez placed third with 23.25 hot dogs.
After the women’s competition, workers cleaned the remaining hot dogs off the long table and placed fresh cups of water for the men’s round.
Mr. Chestnut, who is 6 foot 1 and 230 pounds and competed with an injured leg, said he prepared for the contest by sticking to a liquid diet.
“Lemon juice, water, just a little protein,” he told ESPN on Sunday. “I’ll be happy and I’ll be hungry.”
The crowd chanted “Joey! Joey!” as Mr. Chestnut beat 15 other men, including a war veteran who fought in Afghanistan, a Chicago man who once ate 275 jalapeños in 8 minutes, and Nick Wehry, Ms. Sudo’s fiancé and a diet coach from Tampa, Fla., who last year finished 50 hard-boiled eggs in 3 minutes and four seconds.
After the competition Mr. Chestnut appeared exhausted, sweating and grimacing.
“It was a crazy contest,” he said from the stage.
Mr. Chestnut, who has a personal record of 78 hot dogs, has set other eye-popping records: including 32 Big Macs in 38 minutes, 82 tacos in eight minutes, and 5.9 pounds of funnel cake in 10 minutes.
The maximum number of hot dogs that a human being can consume in 10 minutes is 83, according to a study published in 2020 that was based on 39 years’ worth of data from the contest.
The annual hot dog eating contest has been held every year since 1916.
In 2020, the American spectacle was held in a secret location and only open to the news media to help curb the spread of Covid-19. Last year, spectators were welcomed back but the event was ticketed and held in Maimonides Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, to also limit the number of people attending.
On Monday, Luis and Yolenny Colon of Brooklyn came with their 2-year-old daughter, Jolene, and their French bulldog, Bella, to watch the contest.
They said they were a little disappointed that Mr. Chestnut did not beat his record but they were thrilled that their child could witness the contest in its traditional location.
“We wanted her to experience something so iconic,” said Mr. Colon, 38. “This is history.”