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Coney Island hot dog eaters gear up to chow down

Eleven-time and defending men's champion Joey Chestnut, left, and defending women's champion Miki Sudo pose together during Nathan's Famous international Fourth of July hot dog eating contest weigh-in at the Empire State Building on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The dog days of summer are upon us.

Competitive eaters will scarf down dozens of hot dogs and buns Thursday at the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on New York’s Coney Island boardwalk.

California native and 11-time champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will face off against 17 opponents to defend last year’s record of 74 wieners and buns in 10 minutes.

Miki Sudo (MIHK’-ee SOO’doh), of Las Vegas, hopes to win her sixth consecutive women’s title. She ate 37 franks last year.

Thousands gather to watch the spectacle every year, with millions more tuning in on television.

ESPN released a documentary Tuesday featuring the rivalry between Chestnut and his longtime foe, Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi, who no longer takes part in the contest.