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This Mother-Daughter Duo Are Making History at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest

2 minute read

The annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest has been around for just over a century. But this is the first year that a mother and daughter are both going for glory in the July 4 Coney Island event.

René Rovtar, a school superintendent from New Jersey, and her daughter Kristina, an art teacher, are two members of the 40-person field competing to consume the most hot dogs on the big day, which is televised nationally. Each qualified after eating six hot dogs during regional rounds, although Kristina bested her mom by chowing down on an extra half. They’ll have to do much better than that to take home the grand prize on the Fourth of July, however: last year’s runner-up Carmen Cincotti downed 60 dogs, while ultimate champion Joey Chestnut consumed a whopping 72 in just ten minutes.

But for the Rovtars, it’s still history, as event organizer Major League Eating confirmed to NJ.com.

The strategy is simple. “To eat hot dogs competitively,” according to René, “I like to split them — take the hot dogs out of the buns — try to eat the hot dog as quickly while I am dunking the bun.” Her goal for the big day is ten; this will be her second year competing, and the first time joined by her daughter.

“I wanted to be part of it. My mom and I were talking abut it. She was like, go for it,” Kristina told NJ.com.

The food fest airs on ESPN3 on July 4, starting at 11 a.m.


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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com