As the July 4th holiday weekend gets going, America's gluttony is put on display as the 96th Annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest goes down on Monday. While Americans are consuming record amounts of hot dogs, a small but select group of participants will look to match that total on their own. The event features some of the greatest "athletes" in sports today. Whether you're talking about San Jose native Joey Chestnut, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, or disgraced former champion Takeru Kobayashi, the hot dog eating contest is a battle like no other.
This year's contest will feature Joey Chestnut, a Bay Area product, looking to win his fifth straight mustard belt. After years of dominance by Kobayashi, Chestnut pulled off the huge upset in 2007 and has not looked back. And while Lance Armstrong faces daily accusations of PED usage during his record-setting run through the Tour De France, no such questions face Chestnut.
This year's contest will be featured once again on ESPN and will include a women's division for the first time. Sonya Thomas, a.k.a. The Black Widow, has long been extremely competitive with the men but has always fallen short to Chestnut and Kobayashi. The event has always been mixed gender, but for the first time in 2011, there will be a male and a female champion. Chestnut will likely be the heavy favorite on Coney Island while Thomas should be the favorite amongst the women.
However the event goes down, we'll have plenty of news updates in the coming days, followed by results on Monday. Check back frequently as we'll break down some of the favorites, take a look at some of the odds for Monday's battle royale, and otherwise have a fun time with what might be the most entertaining event in American sports today.