Competitive Eating: How Safe Is It? As eating contests become more popular, some experts are concerned about the risks. Eating contests used to be strictly county-fair stuff. Now, they’re becoming a serious sport. This summer, Joey Chestnut ingested a record 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes at the Super Bowl of competitive eating, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Sixty-six is just a number, until you make a comparison: How many hot dogs do you think you could down in 12 minutes? Maybe five? Six? An estimated 50,000 people were in attendance at Coney Island to watch Chestnut stuff his face.