Hot dog eating champs weigh in for Nathan’s competition

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CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn — Competitive eating is a very lucrative profession if you can stomach it.

Behind all the hype and the PR shenanigans, there's a real career here for these top dogs.

Defending champ Joey "Jaws" Chestnut earns close to $300,000 a year in personal appearances for chowing down 70 dogs in 10 minutes, his Coney Island record.

He's only 33. So how long can he stay on top?

"As long as I'm healthy, happy and having fun it's great," Chestnut told PIX11 news. "Away from competitive eating I'm really healthy. Eating is just one part of my life," the champ added.

At the annual weigh in and stare down, the top female competitor didn't complain that she earns a lot less than her male counterparts in personal appearance fees.

"Joey and the other men, we all earn same prize money - $10,000 is the same for everyone," Miki Sudo, the reining female champ, told PIX11. "But for personal appearances, it's whatever you can craft individually."

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams officiated at the warm-up even though he's a poster child for healthy eating. He lost 35 pounds to combat his diabetes.

So does Adams really approve of hot dog eating contests?

"It's a lot of fun for only one day a year," Adams told PIX11. "If they had a vegan dog I'd participate."

Besides the money, what else propels people to break their record?

It's the roar of the cheering crowd. Up to 40,000 people are expected in Coney Island on what's expected to be a beautiful Fourth of July.

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