TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. - The annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island has become as much of a 4th of July tradition as fireworks, grilling and parades. It is a fierce American food fight to see who can chow down the most franks in 10 minutes.
You might not know that two of the event's biggest names recently moved to the Tampa Bay area. They're known as "The Hungry Couple."
The names Miki Sudo and Nick Wehry put butterflies in the stomachs of competitors. They're a perfect pair with an insatiable appetite for victory. It's only fitting that they now live in "Champa Bay."
"It was just so special to get to do this as a family," Sudo said.
Miki Sudo is the #1 ranked female competitive eater by Major League Eating. She's third overall. Nick Wehry is ranked fourth overall. Last year, they got engaged, welcomed their son, Max, and moved their taste buds to Temple Terrace.
"I started because of the money, the travel," Sudo said. "I'm incredibly competitive. But it's grown beyond that."
Their gastronomic feats have earned them world records.
Sudo took down two-plus gallons of ice cream in six minutes. Wehry ate 50 hard-boiled eggs in just over three minutes. And he did that seconds before proposing. But some may know them best from the annual 4th of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Monday, Sudo claimed her 8th victory belt in the women's event with 40 hot dogs. Nick took 4th in the men's event, also inhaling 40. He did it despite interference from a protester who made it onstage.
"He actually knocked most of my dunking cups over. So, I only had a couple of cups to dunk in for eight minutes," Wehry said.
Little Max was there in Coney Island to cheer on mom and dad. An announcer during the hot dog competition joked that "their 11-month-old son is the undisputed mashed banana eating champion of Tampa Bay."
But outside of competition, "We don't eat hotdogs by the dozen," Sudo said.
They actually eat pretty healthy - plenty of chicken, kale, veggies and Greek yogurt - on top of working out.
"We're pushing our bodies to an absolute limit for six to 12 minutes," Wehry said. "So the better you feel, the better shape you're in, that's going to be optimal."
Food brings people together. In this case, it helped create a family.
"We get to use our talents for what feels like good, bringing people happiness, just raising money for others," said Wehry. "And of course, there's a level of, we get to make or win money as well. So, pretty awesome balance."
"I love the life that we share," Sudo said. "We have a son together. So, it's become so much more meaningful than I ever could have imagined. That coupled with the fact that we get to bring joy to people's days, you know. Who knew that we were such a big part of your traditions?"
They have also shared a few victories as a team. They hold a couple's record for eating 88 hot dogs in 10 minutes, and another one for taking down more than 41 pounds of poutine in 10 minutes.