July 4 Tradition: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest When did the annual contest begin? Some say 1916. A company executive, however, says it started in 1972 — cooked up by a PR guy hired by Nathan's.

July 4 Tradition: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

July 4 Tradition: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

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When did the annual contest begin? Some say 1916. A company executive, however, says it started in 1972 — cooked up by a PR guy hired by Nathan's.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Competitive eaters descend on Coney Island today for the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Legend has it that the contest came about when Nathan's opened a century ago when an Irish immigrant challenged other immigrants to prove who was more American, but the AP points out that's baloney. The eating contest actually began in 1972 cooked up by a PR guy hired by Nathan's - very American.

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