Patrick Bertoletti eats 58 hot dogs to win Nathan’s Coney Island contest in Joey Chestnut’s absence

NEW YORK — Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest has a new champion: Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago won the men’s event Thursday, capturing the prized Mustard Yellow Belt by chowing down 58 wieners as reigning champ Joey Chestnut didn’t compete.

Prior to that showdown, the women’s record was shattered by 10-time winner Miki Sudo, from New York City, who ate 51 wieners en route to winning that competition.

The rules for the annual dog fight, which began in 1972, state that whoever eats the most hot dogs in 10 minutes takes home $10,000. Every Fourth of July, roughly 20 professional eaters show up at the corner of the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues to flex their stomachs.

Notably missing from the men’s competition was Chestnut the 16-time reigning champion, who won last year’s contest by downing 62 hot dogs. He sat out this year’s match due to a contract dispute resulting from his deal with Impossible Foods, which makes vegetable-based wieners.

Chestnut planned to compete in a 5 p.m. competition with U.S. troops at Fort Bliss in Texas. He ended Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi’s reign in 2007 in a showdown regarded as a classic in the competitive eating world. Chestnut ate 76 hot dogs in 2021, which remains a world record.

Kobayashi held the title from 2001 to 2006, but stepped away from the Nathan’s event in 2007 amid a falling out with event organizers at Major League Eating.

He ate 50 hot dogs in 2001, which doubled the previous record. The 46-year-old competitive eater accomplished that feat by implementing “The Solomon Method.” That plan has competitors stick half a hot dog in their mouths while dipping the other half — bun and all — into water before shoving that half down too.

Chestnut and Kobayashi will renew their rivalry on Sept. 2 when they face off in an eating contest airing on Netflix.