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Friday Night Holiday Weekend Open Thread: The Return Of Joey Chestnut

It's Friday afternoon (or evening if you're just showing up) and we're heading into the July 4th holiday weekend so I thought an open thread to take us into the weekend was the way to go. "Camp Alex" finished up earlier today and there is no subsequent minicamp planned until there is further word on the labor negotiations. The two sides met late into Thursday night and again Friday morning but have no broken up for the holiday weekend. They'll be meeting back up on Tuesday, which means there likely won't be any significant updates this weekend. Maybe some leaked information here or there but not much else.

As it is July 4th weekend, that also means the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is back for its 96th appearance. The contest is of significance in the Bay Area because the four-time defending champion, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut" is a native of Vallejo and currently resides in San Jose. He'll be looking to earn his fifth straight Mustard Belt at Coney Island on Monday. Five belts would equal the 49ers five championships (don't ya love that tie-in?). Of course, winning those belts five straight times is pretty impressive.

If you're willing to consider competitive eating an athletic endeavor (easy for some, a stretch for others) you could argue Joey Chestnut is the greatest athlete in Bay Area sports history. He's a heavy favorite to win his fifth straight belt and owns numerous world records in the world of competitive eating. He holds the record for most hot dogs, matzoh balls, Krystal burgers, chicken wings, asparagus, steak and pork ribs. If that doesn't make him a Real American hero I don't what does!

After the jump, check out video from the 2010 contest where Joey consumed 54 hot dogs to emerge victorious.

Every 4th of July we see a record number of hot dogs eaten across the country. How many folks go for the traditional holiday BBQ and fireworks? Any other plans for the holiday weekend? Apologies in advance to our English users on this "Scoreboard!" holiday.

2010 Hot Dog Eating Contest