Major craving: Vandalia man returns to face world’s hot dog-eating titans

A local man will take the stage this weekend in one of the most iconic — and calorie-loaded — competitions in the world.

Derek Jacobs of Vandalia, currently ranked No. 13 in the world by Major League Eating, will compete in the 2021 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog- Eating Contest.

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Taking place at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, the contest is scheduled for this Sunday, July 4 starting at 11 a.m. The 2020 contest was held in a private location at a media-only event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 38-year-old, who is 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 200 lbs., has three Nathan’s Famous competitions already under his belt — 2019 with 27 hot dogs and a 12th place finish, 2018 with 27 hot dogs and a 12th place finish, and 2017 with 20.5 hot dogs and a 17th place finish.

Credit: Submitted by Derek Jacobs

Credit: Submitted by Derek Jacobs

During a typical year, upwards of 30,000 fans flock to the contest to watch in person. Millions of viewers regularly catch the competition on television on ESPN.

“It is encouraging to hold this event live for fans, who last year were unable to celebrate July 4 as they traditionally do,” James Walker, Senior Vice President, Restaurants, Nathan’s Famous, said. “Next year, we hope to return to the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues, where we have held this event for decade after decade.”

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