Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest - Coney Island, N.Y.
Credit: Laurentiu Garofeanu / Getty Images

Long before competitive eating became a money sport, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest was challenging average folks with uncommon tolerances to celebrate their independence by cramming as many processed meat products down their throats as possible in ten minutes. And whether it began in 1916, as legend claims, or in the 1970s as skeptics would have you believe, the illustrious tradition, like our country, stands strong.