Meet The Elite Who Eat: 2014 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Preview

July 4 is the ultimate day for gluttons in America. We drink lots of beer, eat lots of grilled meat, and blow lots of shit up into the night sky. But your pathetic, run of the mill gluttony doesn't have anything on what takes place each year at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

A ten minute exercise in pushing the human body to the limits of its capacity, the 2014 Nathan's Famous contest could be the first to see the seventy hot dog barrier fall (the over/under for the winner sits at 67.5, with Joey Chestnut having downed 69 last year). That's also the only bit of drama that will exist in the competition, which Joey Chestnut will surely win for an eighth straight time.

Either way, let's meet Chestnut and the two men who have the best (least terrible) chances to dethrone him. All betting odds referenced are from Bovada.

Joey Chestnut

Meet The Elite Who Eat: 2014 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Preview

Odds to Win: -1200

Personal Best: 69 HDB (hot dogs and buns) in 10 minutes

Nickname: Jaws

World Records:

  • Deep Fried Asparagus
  • Matzoh Balls
  • Hot Dogs
  • Steak
  • Pork Ribs
  • Bratwurst
  • Hard Boiled Eggs

Joey Chestnut is by far the best competitive hot dog eater in the world, even if you'd have to wonder how valid his claim to that title would be if not for Takeru Kobayashi's disappearance from competitive eating after losing to Chestnut from 2007-2009.

Regardless, Chestnut's lack of legitimate competition as of late has him missing Kobi's presence at the Nathan's Famous table, as he shared with TMZ.

Either way, Chestnut is going to win this competition going away for his eighth straight championship. Whether or not Chestnut can make history by polishing off seventy HDBs, however, remains to be seen.

"Joey is in a league of his own in the upper sixties," said competitor Erik "The Red" Denmark, whose personal best is 38 HDBs in the July 4 competition.

Matt Stonie

Meet The Elite Who Eat: 2014 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Preview

Odds to Win: +900

Personal Best: 51 HDBs

Nickname: Megatoad

World Records:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Gyoza
  • Gyros
  • Indian Tacos
  • Slugburgers
  • Kookamonger Burgers

Deemed the best hope to overtake Chestnut since Kobayashi's departure from the sport, Matt Stonie still has virtually no chance to win this event. Despite holding a number of world records, there's no reason to think that he'll make a jump of nearly 20 hot dogs to catch Chestnut.

With that said, Stonie is a star on the competitive eating circuit, winning a few competitions over Chestnut already this year. While those contests are completely different ballgames than the Nathan's Famous contest, they still count for something.

Besides, if Chestnut has a bad day (a "reversal" and a disqualification, perhaps), Stonie will be there to pick up the pieces.

Said Denmark on Stonie, "if [Chestnut] regresses to the upper fifties, he could have some competition from Stonie."

Not exactly a ringing endorsement from Denmark about a fellow competitor, but an incredibly accurate one. It'd take a terrible day from Joey to make it possible for Stonie to win, but you never know.

Tim Janus

Meet The Elite Who Eat: 2014 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Preview

Odds to Win: +700 (Tim is a part of the Any Other Eater category)

Personal Best: 53 HDBs

Nickname: Eater X

World Records:

  • Tiramisu
  • Tamales
  • Cannoli
  • Burritos
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Fried Pork Rinds
  • Nigiri Sushi
  • Boneless Buffalo Wings

Eater X almost certainly won't win this contest, but everyone should want him to. The guy is the coolest dude in competitive eating, and is damn good at it even when not training as much as his competitors.

So why is Tim Janus the coolest dude in competitive eating? Well, for starters, the face paint is pretty dope. He's also appeared on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Cash Cab, was a world burping champion, and tried to get himself drunk off of O'Douls. Tim Janus is a cool dude.

He's also really good at eating lots of hot dogs, as he's one of just a few people to have consumed fifty or more in competition. Last year he put down fifty despite only practicing for the contest one time. This makes his performances arguably more impressive than any of Chestnut's who, in the above video, says that he is shipped around 1,000 hot dogs per year to practice with.

While he may not have the chops to hit the upper sixties, Tim Janus will be right around fifty once again tomorrow. We should all be cheering for Chestnut and Stonie to falter in front of him.