A Nation Cheers As We Can, Again, Celebrate Our Independence By Watching A Man Eat 70+ Hot Dogs (UPDATE)

UPDATE: Through sheer force of will and determination, the Hot Dog Contest is back on for 2 p.m. ET (ESPN2). Joey Chestnut was about to go rogue and eat some hot dogs for the love of the game if not.

Original Story: Every year on July 4, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Nathan’s Hot Dot Eating Contest in the afternoon, celebrating our nation’s independence by watching people give themselves painful indigestion.

The star of the contest is Joey Chestnut, a man with no peers in the hot dog eating game — at least, ever since Takeru Kobayashi was banned from the contest — and on Tuesday he was set to go for his 16th title. Chestnut holds the record with 73 hot dogs and and his over/under odds for 2023 was at 73.5, meaning to go over he was going to have to set a new record. However, after the women’s contest saw Miki Sudo take down 39.5 dogs to win her ninth title, weather rolled in over Coney Island, New York causing a delay that, ultimately, became a cancellation of the contest.

That left hundreds of hot dogs uneaten, the contestants hungry, and the many Americans ready to celebrate our right to gluttony unfulfilled. It is a disappointing way to start the holiday, and if you want to see someone eat an upsetting number of hot dogs you will have to settle for goading a friend or family member into doing it at a cookout. I fear for whatever restaurant Joey Chestnut pulls up to to satiate his hunger, as he must feed on this, his high holy day.

Look at this man, he will not be denied his dogs.