‘I was eating on a prayer:’ Nathan’s hot dog-eating champ brings title back to Tucson

Hot Dog Eating Champ

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s a Fourth of July tradition that had two women from Tucson standing at center stage.

Chowing down on 31 hot dogs in 10 minutes, Miki Sudo won first place at the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest for the sixth consecutive year Thursday.

Her friend, Michelle “The Cardboard Shell” Lesco, finished in second place with 26 hot dogs.

[ Tucson woman eats her way to second place at 2019 hot dog eating contest ]

“This year I was less confident then in years past," said Sudo. "My training kind of took a back seat so I felt like I was eating on a prayer.”

A prayer that was answered with the rinse and repeat for ten minutes straight. Sudo said her trick is the same as other competitive eaters with hot dogs, which is to dip the buns in a warm liquid. Her go-to is strawberry-orange-banana Crystal Light.

“It’s like the longest and fastest ten minutes of your life. Everything is a blur," said Sudo.

Sudo earned a $10,000 prize for coming in first. Along with her Nathan’s title, Sudo is one of the best competitive eaters in the world. Her resume includes:

- Top-Ranked Female Competitive Eater with Major League Eating

- Ranked sixth in the world in men and women, overall

- 3x World Record Holder

“Savory foods, sweet foods, junk foods, healthy foods. There’s a kale eating competition, so there are a number of events throughout the year," said Sudo. “There is something for everyone.”

Sudo was born in New York and grew up in Japan. She cracked into her competitive eating career in Las Vegas with Vietnamese noodle soup. Sudo said they put her photo on a billboard and that is when she started getting offers and requests for other contests.

When she’s not competing, Sudo said her diet is pretty normal with a balance of fruits, vegetables and protein. Of course, cheat days can be a little more fun.

“She pushes me indirectly as another contestant on stage, she’s a great eater," said Sudo. "But, she also pushes me directly when she see’s that I’m slipping up, she’ll pull me out of bed and say ‘Hey Miki, pull yourself together. You have a contest to do.’”

Lesco has used competitive eating to raise money for causes she cares about and was named the Major League Eating’s Humanitarian of the Year for her efforts.

While she relished in her most recent win Sunday, a ‘dog’gone good life is not lost on Sudo.

“I get to travel, eat, compete. Meet some really cool people and I wouldn’t have it any other way," said Sudo.

Next up for Sudo is a rib-eating contest at the end of the month. She said she also has tacos and brats scheduled, with others scattered throughout the rest of the year.

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