Matt “Megatoad” Stonie rocked the competitive-eating world this weekend at the July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest when he stole the throne from eight-time defending champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut. Stonie ate 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at the competition on Saturday, beating Chestnut, who crushed a mere 60 dogs.
Stonie came in second place last year with 56 hot dogs, but after rigorous training and fierce determination, he came out victorious this time around. The 23 year old says he’s taken off a few semesters from Mission College in Santa Clara, CA to “make more appearances, travel, compete, and focus on my training.” Looks like all his hard work has been paying off.
We chatted with Stonie after the competition about whether he thinks he could beat Kobayashi, the effect 62 hot dogs have on your digestive track, and more.
How long have you been doing food competitions?
A little over four years now.
How did you get into competitive eating?
It’s not one of those things you always wanted to be as a kid, like being a basketball or football player. It started with a lobster-roll-eating contest five minutes away from my house with $1,000 dollars on the line. I thought: Why not, just give it a shot. I showed up and there was a guy who was expected to win and I beat him by half a lobster roll and took home $1,000 cash. I ate 24 lobster rolls in total, which is nothing compared to 62 hot dogs. After that competition, I thought, Hey, it’s not so bad. I’ve always been a competitive guy and I got hooked on that competitive high.
What is going to the bathroom like after a competition? Is it worth the win?
Of course it’s worth the win. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Some people are like: 62 hot dogs! You won’t enjoy that. But it’s not too bad. Hot dogs are pretty balanced: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. My trips [to the bathroom] aren’t too different compared to the average person, but they’re a lot more frequent.
Are you a fan of turkey, pork, or beef franks?
Beef. Always. I’ve eaten a lot of hot dogs in my day. Nathan’s are 100% beef hot dogs and I’m not just saying this just because I’m sponsored. Beef has that extra level of greasiness. Nathan’s hot dogs pop because of the casing. I never have been a fan of pork or turkey hot dogs, so beef is the way to go.
Do you fuck with veggie dogs?
No, if you want tofu, eat tofu. Don’t get me wrong—I like my vegetables, just not in my hot dogs.
Do you think you could beat Kobayashi?
He is definitely a legend who represents competitive eating. It’s hard to know because he hasn’t competed in a Nathan’s contest for eight years now. I don’t mean to sound conceded, but Joey and I have just projected amazing numbers over the past few years. I think if Kobayashi competed with us he would be a contender for third place.
Is there a difference between your technique and Joey Chestnut’s?
Our techniques are pretty uniform: separating the hot dog from bun, soaking the bun in the water, and chasing it down. Although, everyone has their own nuances. Joey doesn’t chase, he just uses the water. I chase using PowerAde.
What flavor PowerAde?
The blue one. I think it’s mixed berry or something.
In terms of the future of the sport, is it in jeopardy? Do you have plans to revive it?
In years past the Nathan’s competition was a tiny little contest. Then it appeared on ESPN and Kobayashi came in. Then joey. After Kobayashi left, Joey blew up. It was interesting and fun for a while until it became dead—because Joey was always winning. Now that I’ve come in, I’ve taken the belt and upset the champ. It’s going to help create a surge in the attention. Something I noticed is my YouTube channel has a pretty nice following. And the amount of people on social media that are posting food challenges—like eating big burritos and the McDonald’s chicken nugget challenge—show that it’s garnering more personal interest.
Which regional style of dog do you think is superior?
Personally, I just prefer my hot dogs with mustard.
Did you eat the ones at the competition with mustard?
When I go up on stage it’s all business. I just eat them plain.
Do you plan to feast on more hot dogs anytime soon?
After this win, I usually don’t eat a hot dog for a few months. I’ll probably cook up some in a few days and celebrate the win. Maybe next time I’m at a baseball stadium, I’ll grab a hot dog just for fun.