Think you could be the next Joey Chestnut? We asked Matt Stonie, owner of 14 competitive eating records and the last guy to beat Chestnut at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, about his sport ... and you might want to leave the Mustard Belt for the pros.
Q: How does a skinny little dude from San Jose wake up one day and decide to be a competitive eater?
A: I entered a lobster-roll-eating contest because first prize was $1,000. I won by a quarter of a lobster roll and I thought, "Hey, maybe I can do this." But still, it took awhile before I joined the tour and figured out how to do this the right way.
Q: The constant weight fluctuation... that can't be healthy.
A: After a contest, I can gain up to 20 pounds. I know 20 pounds in 10 minutes sounds ridiculous, but a lot of it is water weight. It takes me maybe three days to lose it after a contest. And it's not like I'm doing this every week. I compete in maybe one event a month.
Q: Are there any untouchable eating records?
A: I think there are two. Joey and I did a pumpkin-pie-eating contest in 2014. The competitive nature between the two of us was unbelievable. I ate 20 pounds, 13 ounces of pumpkin pie -- 84 slices -- in eight minutes. We also went head-to-head in a dumpling event. I did 373 and he did 384. I don't think either one of those records will ever be beat.
Q: Other than hot dogs, what's the one record you don't have that you want?
A: Joey's got the poutine record of 25.5 pounds. That's on my radar.
Q: Have you ever been in a contest where you've been like, "I seriously don't know if I can eat this"?
A: Joey and I were in a cow-brain- tacos-eating contest. The fattiness of the cow brains was, um, yeah, not good. You could literally see the brains. Even worse? I lost to Joey by half a taco.
Q: Are there any records that even you think are disgusting?
A: Sonya Thomas ate 47 dozen oysters in eight minutes. That's just not right.
Q: Thoughts on July 4?
A: Here's the deal: I'm the last guy who beat him, and I'm going to be ready. I want the hot dog record back. It's the crown jewel of eating.
* See Stonie try to out-eat Joey Jaws at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4 (ESPN2, noon ET).