The hot dog race is back on.
The much anticipated annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for the men’s division will resume Tuesday afternoon after a brief delay due to lightning storms hanging over Brooklyn.
ESPN, which is hosting the event, announced it would kick off again at 2 p.m.
Hundreds had gathered at Coney Island in front of the iconic Nathan’s flagship restaurant to cheer for Joey Chestnut to claim his 16th victory at the event before the delay.
But following the women’s match this morning, where Miki Sudo secured her ninth win with 39 hot dogs, rain and lightning strikes appeared to put an end to the Fourth of July tradition.
Contest officials initially told the crowds the competition was being nixed.
“I’m very disappointed to tell you that after speaking to the NYPD, we have to dismiss the crowd and the competition is not going to happen. It’s too much of a lightning risk,” contest officials told spectators.
Attendees at the 2023 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest stand in the middle of a thunderstorm. Paul Martinka
Many were optimistic that the rain would not stop the contest, where hopes were high that Joey Chestnut would secure his 16th victory. Paul Martinka
Spectators rushed to find cover from the torrential downpour that hit Coney Island. Paul Martinka
Charlie Mura, 20, told the Post he had come all the way down from Canada to enjoy the Fourth of July tradition.
“I wanted to see Joey Chestnut eat like, 60, hotdogs,” the disappointed Canadian said.
“I feel like on the Fourth of July, [it’s] celebrating freedom… I’m pretty pissed,” he added. “It’s my God-given right to see this show. Rain or shine they should have hotdog eating contests.”
Some spectators refused to leave the scene, clashing with contest organizers who yelled at them to go. Paul Martinka
Event organizers canceled the event due to the weather after consulting with NYPD officials. Paul Martinka
Earlier today, the sun was shining brightly on the contest, where the women’s match was able to go unimpeded. Paul Martinka
New Yorker Helen Velazquez, 20, echoed the sentiment, saying it was wrong to call off the event in the first place.
“The contestants literally dip the hotdogs in the water like what’s the point, put ponchos on them and go on.”
Tensions had risen at the Coney Island boardwalk when the contest was initially delayed due to weather, with organizers yelling at spectators to leave the area and stay away from the tents they had set up.
The crowd, seeking shelter from the rain, repeatedly argued with contest workers telling them to leave, with the two groups yelling at each other as the NYPD attempted to intervene.
As other spectators sought shelter by the nearby train station and even under staircases, one man running to escape the rain told The Post: “It’s like a water park for the Fourth of July!”