NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The reigning champ of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest gets to hold onto his mustard yellow belt.
High-ranking chowhound Joey “Jaws” Chestnut packed away 61 franks and buns in 10 minutes on Friday at the Coney Island contest.
That’s 17,080 calories in total, 1,700 calories per minute and 28 per second, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
“Years ago I would feel like garbage after the contest and it would take a lot longer to feel good, now my body just adapted,” Chestnut said.
He fell far short of his record last year of 69 dogs and buns, but he still easily beat second-place finisher Matt Stonie, also of San Jose, who downed just 56.
Chestnut, 30, took a quick timeout before the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island to make it official with his longtime girlfriend, Neslie Ricasa, who is also a competitive eater.
“I never imagined that I would be proposed to on stage before the Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said Ricasa.
“She said, ‘yes’ and I’m a happy guy all the way around,” Chestnut said.
In the women’s division, defending champion Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas lost her title to Miki Sudo. Thomas was only able to devour 27 3/4 hot dogs and buns. Sudo, of Las Vegas, wolfed down 34 franks and buns.
Tens of thousands of spectators crammed the Coney Island boardwalk to get a glimpse of the annual contest.
“Wow that was awesome! That was exciting!” spectator David Turner said.
“I never thought I’d actually see it in person,” said Chris Valentin. “It makes my stomach hurt!”
James DeBlase and his family from Bensonhurst were the first spectators there.
“Nathan’s is tradition,” he said. “What more could you get.”
Chestnut has won eight times in a row now. In 2010, his former rival, Takeru Kobayashi, Kobayashi refused to sign an exclusive contract with Major League Eating, the food equivalent of the NFL, and was banned from competition.
This year, the Japanese native nicknamed the Tsunami competed against five other competitive eaters at a separate event on Fifth Avenue in a quest to down the most hot dogs without buns in 10 minutes.
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