Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo were once again the top dogs at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island on Tuesday.
Chestnut, who described himself as "just a goofy dude who likes to eat," made history by scarfing down a record-setting 72 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, but he apparently felt that he could have accomplished more.
"I’m really happy I got the win. I slowed down way more than I wanted to. I know I could’ve eaten more," Chestnut said after his win. "I need to figure out how to work on my conditioning so I don’t sweat as much and slow down during the contest.”
The No. 1-ranked eater in the world, Chesnut lost his championship Mustard Belt in 2015 to Matt Stonie, but reclaimed it last year, eating 70 franks in 10 minutes. This year was Chestnut's 10th victory in the men's competition.
"I’m happy I pulled out the win and I’m looking forward to next year," Chestnut added.
Sudo, who was the reigning women's champion from 2016, held onto her title by downing 41 hot dogs and buns. Sudo said she changed her technique this year, with a focus on preparation instead of practice.
"This year I didn’t do what I normally do, which is line up 10 minutes’ worth of hot dogs and mimic the contest conditions," she said. "I just came in with a clear mindset and I was calm and more mentally prepared than ever."
This was Sudo's fourth-straight win at the annual competition, which draws hundreds of spectators each year.
About 1,000 people packed in front of the stage, adorned in hot dog hats and holding signs that said, "Man buns no, hot dog buns yes," and "Grab 'em by the wiener," an apparent reference to an infamous tape of President Donald Trump, before he took office, in which he made a lewd comment about women.
Mireia Gonzales attended the event, which she described as "crazy," for the first time this year.
"I've never seen anything like this," said the 20-year-old from Barcelona.
Just beyond the stage, thousands of people spilled into the streets of Coney Island, hoping to catch a glimpse of who the real wiener would be. People dressed as life-sized hot dogs milled around the area while volunteers chucked T-shirts into the cheering crowd.
Danielle Stogdill, 38, of Sunnyside, was having a blast.
"Coming to this is so much fun; I'm not sure how things will go but what else would we be doing today," she said, adding that this was her third year as a spectator. "It's wild out here."
Jake Slewett, 17, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, said he's been training and hopes to one day be a competitor.
"It seems fun. I know I can eat a lot without gaining weight, and it’s usually the skinny guys that come through in the end," he said. "I don’t think I’ll ever get to 72, but I’ll be up on the stage one day."
Musicians kept the crowd entertained throughout the afternoon with patriotic tunes ranging from funk-rock blues to hip-hop grooves. And every so often, a chant would ripple through the crowd, with sounds of "U-S-A" floating through the air.
Christopher Stogdill, 48, also of Sunnyside, said the contest is a classic Fourth of July tradition.
"We love coming out here to watch. I mean it's classically American, right? I love seeing the crowd get into it," he said.
Five people were arrested at this year's competition after they unfurled a banner in the crowd during the men's competition, according to police and witnesses. They were later charged with civil disobedience, police said.
With Nicole Levy