NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas have defended their titles and are once again walking away as hot dog eating champions.
The man known as Jaws downed 69 franks and devoured his own record at annual Fourth of July Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. He takes home $10,000 and a mustard-yellow champion’s belt.
Chestnut, 29, is a seven-time winner who set the old record — 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — in 2009 and tied it last year.
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “I can’t complain.”
He said afterward that he was motivated by the prestige, not the prize money.
“I’d do this for nothing,” he said.
With this year’s victory, Chestnut has now bested his former rival, Takeru Kobayashi, who won six times. Kobayashi competed in a different eating contest Thursday.
Second-place finisher was Matt Stonie, who chomped down 51 hot dogs.
Thomas, a 100-pound dynamo known as the “Black Widow” of competitive eating, wolfed down nearly 37 wieners for a narrow victory in the women’s competition.
The 45-year-old powered through 45 dogs to take the women’s championship last year and also won in 2011, the first year women competed separately.
Thomas said the challenge of shoveling down dozens of franks is actually “more mental than physical.”
About 40,000 people gathered to watch the chomp champs face off.
“It’s the atmosphere,” said Chris Vecchione from Springfield, N.J. “It’s like a super party here.”
On lookers told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez that they were fascinated by the amount of food consumed during the event.
“They can sit there and eat pounds and pounds of food just in practice and not get sick, they’re just amazing,” Lisa Vecchione said.
Now in its 98th year, the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest generally draws a crowd of thousands to marvel at contestants cramming frankfurters down their throats.
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