Photo: Kena Betancur (Getty Images)

The Fourth of July has come and gone, and in America, that means at least one day off work across the country, cookouts, far too many fireworks, and perhaps most valuably of them all, the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

The famed competition, which has been officially active since 1972, saw both of last year’s champions retain, as Joey Chestnut won the men’s category for the fourth consecutive time (and his 9th in 10 years), while Miki Sudo claimed her sixth consecutive women’s title. While both came in under last year’s totals, the respective hauls of 71 hot dogs for Chestnut and 31 for Sudo were enough to win out.

Sudo, who hails from Tuscon, Arizona, spoke to local news affiliate KOLD about the victory, at one point revealing a particularly unorthodox approach to the common speed-eating method of dipping one’s hot dogs into water for the sake of quick consumption: “...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.” This got the Takeout staff wondering exactly what that tastes like, especially at a pace of 31 dogs over 10 minutes. Our best conclusion: a hyper-amplified school lunch.

Congratulations to Sudo and Chestnut, who both took home $10,000 along with the kind of bragging rights that can only come from conquering one of the most American sports of all. And honestly, in a cultural period when women being paid the same as men for athletic pursuits is considered a subject worthy of debate for some reason, it’s incredibly reassuring to know that Nathan’s is at the forefront of the egalitarian push for across-the-board compensation for our greatest and most notable athletes. We’re still unsure of whether a hot dog is indeed a sandwich, but we do at least know that it’s a bellwether for positive change.

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