--Chestnut Downs 62 At Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, But A Lady Steals The Show
Joey Chestnut could teach us all a thing or two about consistency, not to mention the most absurd kind of gluttony.
Chestnut, 27, from San Jose, Calif., won his fifth consecutive Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Monday by plowing through 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes. That was good enough to win by nine franks over second-place chow artist Patrick Bertoletti.
Asked how he was doing afterward, Chestnut remarked that he felt "great!"
Who wouldn't after ingesting 20,000 calories?
More significantly, for the first year ever, we have a women's contest wiener -- er, winner. Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas put away 40 hot dogs, which had to come as little surprise to competitive eating fans. (Yes, they exist.) The Black Widow downed a personal best of 41 in 2009.
Thomas won by a larger margin than Chestnut, with her closest competitor, Juliet Lee, finishing with 29 1/2 hot dogs consumed.
Chestnut and Thomas each walked away with $10,000 and a championship belt.
Of course the purists will argue that the event wasn't the same without Takeru Kobayashi, who won the event six consecutive years (2001-2006) before finishing second to Chestnut three times.
Kobayashi was ineligible to compete at Nathan's for the second year in a row because he refuses to sign a contract with Major League Eating, the governing body of competitive eating. Last year he showed up in a "Free Kobi" T-shirt and rushed the stage after Chestnut won. He was then dragged away and issued a handful of charges that were later dropped.
This year, Kobayashi staged a one-man event at a Manhattan restaurant at the same time flanked by TV screens showing the Nathan's contest in Brooklyn and ate 69.
Chestnut set the official Nathan's record of 68 in 2009. Major League Eating has said it will not recognize Kobayashi's 69 because it did not occur in a competition.
Chestnut had a similar sentiment, telling CNN: "It was no different than what I do at practice on my own and I'm able to break a record at my house."