Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating ContestYana Paskova/Getty ImagesThe Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is back on Thursday, with Joey Chestnut still champion.

It's baaa-aack: The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest (noon ET, ESPN and WatchESPN), that Fourth of July/Coney Island staple that lately has seen a run of dominance. Yes, with six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi still at odds with Major League Eating, Joey Chestnut has won six straight titles and is expected to nab No. 7 on Thursday. Meanwhile, Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas is looking for a three-peat in the women's division -- and probably will get it. The drama, then, might come through the pursuit of records; both competitors have their eyes on their own historical marks. Of course, there's always the fact that speed-eating is a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.

Seven for 70?

Chestnut has downed 68 dogs twice. Now he's eying the big 7-0 as he goes for title No. 7.


Theoretical throwdown

Chestnut twice has eaten 6.8 hot dogs per minute, but Kobayashi posted a 6.45 average in 2009.


Back in 'Black'?

Thomas is in a league all her own, holding the top four spots on the all-time list. Last year was her best showing, with 45 hot dogs.


Try this at home

Of course you couldn't match these competitive eaters. But how close could you get?


Gorging pleasures?

Would you follow suit and munch on hot dogs? Or does something else trigger your inner glutton?


Gross or great?

All that food. And yet ... all that technique, strategy and, ultimately, drama.


Comment »