The Fourth of July is the time to celebrate all glorious things American: Independence, apple pie, blowing things up in your backyard. One of the most beloved traditions, of course, is the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn. For more than a century, men and women have been shoving an absurd number of water-soaked hotdogs down their gullets. The reigning champ is Joey Chestnut, who last year consumed 70 hot dogs in only 10 minutes. Chestnut also holds records for eating chicken wings, chili, glazed donuts, tiny hamburgers, and dozens of others.
Major League Eating–the organization responsible for coordinating professional eating contests in the U.S.–holds about 80 events annually, some of which are televised on ESPN. Eating contests traditionally started as spectacles at county fairs, usually involving pies. Yet over the years the contests have morphed and have gained popularity with shows like Man V. Food.
Here, The Daily Beast takes a look at the evolution of stuffing your face in the name of sport.