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4TH OF JULY FLASHBACK: Covering The 2019 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

July 4th, 2019: I was about one month into my tenure as an intern for Pardon My Take. As the show's Sports Business Reporter covering food, merchandise, and anything with a dollar sign in front of it, it was only fitting that I put on a suit and went out to Coney Island for the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. There really wasn't a set plan that I had in place that day, except for two things:

1. Capture fun and unique content

2. Don't die of a heat stroke

I remember there being a line of about 100 people when I showed up at 8 AM. The gates for the public didn't open for about another hour, but that wasn't stopping people from showing up early in order to get the best seats standing room in the house to watch about a dozen folks send pounds of meat down their throats. The first guy in line? He was not wasting ANY time.

Once the early wave of fans calmed down, I eventually caught up with the man who arrived first, Greg Packer. He showed up to Coney Island at... 3 AM?!?!

There was a decent amount of time to kill before the contests began, so I took a little bit of a stroll around Coney Island. And on that walk, I noticed a very interesting ad placement just a few yards away from where the competition was taking place…

Throwback to when Mr. Cat competed in the contest in 2016 and PETA ruined his chance at eternal glory…

Anyways, it was time for the women's contest. Miki Sudo entered as the heavy favorite, and took care of business. We got a buns report from the champ herself, who took down 31 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The stage then cleared and got cleaned up, and it was time for the MAIN EVENT! A majority of the fans at Coney were there to see one man and one man only: Joey Chestnut. I caught up with Joey Jaws just seconds before he took the stage:

The recurring PMT guest devoured 71 hot dogs in 10 minutes, and we met up once again after the contest to break everything down. According to Chestnut, it was a bad day at the office!

Can Joey Chestnut win the competition again this year? Today's contest will actually be the first one in a "normal" setting since the one I covered back in 2019. He is dealing with some adversity entering this year's main event…

Buckle up, folks. Will today be known as the Joey Jaws Flu Game? Will he secure his 15th title? We shall see…

Women's contest: 10:45 AM ET (ESPN3)

Men's contest: 12 PM ET (ESPNEWS)