How Much Prize Money Does The Nathan's Hot Dog Contest Winner Get? It's A Lot Of Dough

On July 4, we will be celebrating more than the victory of the fledgling American troops against the powerful British army. Another war will be taking place — a war of independence from the tyranny of gastrointestinal limitations. The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest is hosting this annual battle for the 100th time in 2016, and our soldiers' stomachs are in peak form for the fight. The prize for winning the Nathan's hot dog eating contest is a whole lot of money — and, more importantly, the everlasting aftertaste of a distinctly American flavor of freedom.

Major League Eating, the sanctioner of the annual revolution, announced that this year's monetary prize totals $40,000. The hot dog troops are segregated by sex; the prevailing female and male fighter in each camp will receive $20,000 apiece.

But at stake is so much more than this mere pittance paid for the great sacrifice made by these food warriors. Pride and freedom and American values are on the line, particularly for 2015 victors Miki Sudo and Matt Stonie. Stonie's defeat of 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes overthrew the oppressive reign of Joey Chestnut, who had claimed victory in eight consecutive annual hot dog contests prior. Chestnut is looking to stage a coup in 2016, reclaiming his title as King of the Dogs.

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Stakes are similarly high for our female combatants. Sudo's 2015 assault on 38 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes ousted former ruler of the women's camp Sonya Thomas, who had previously set a world record for her successful attack on 45 dogs and buns. Like Chestnut, Thomas isn't ready to let royalty slip through her fingers, and will return to the battlefield in 2016 in an effort to reclaim her position of power.

Unlike the wagers of the Revolutionary War against Britain, Nathan's Famous cares about people in poverty. That's why they'll be donating 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City. In this war, the elite eaters aren't the only ones to get a slice of dog.

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The 2016 hot dog troopers will be battling one another, the dogs and buns before them, their own stomachs, and the doubts, fears, and concern for personal well-being that have plagued the minds of soldiers in the troughs since man has been waging these gastrointestinal wars. Though the technical prize is $20,000, the victors will walk away with so much more.