Man downs 68 ‘dogs’ for title
NEW YORK—Joey Chestnut won his sixth-straight Fourth of July hotdog-eating contest at Coney Island, downing 68 dogs and buns yesterday to tie his personal best in a sweaty, gag-inducing spectacle.
Last year, the 28-year-old San Jose, Calif. man nicknamed “Jaws” won with 62 hotdogs.
“I feel good, it was a great win,” Chestnut said after the contest, adding he wished he could have eaten a record number of hotdogs for the audience.
“I tried my best. I’m looking forward to next year already,” he noted.
Second place went to Tim Janus of New York with 52 hotdogs, who received $5,000.
Third place went to Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago with 51, who won $2,500.
Chestnut was neck-and-neck with competitors during the first half of the contest, but pulled ahead in the remaining minutes, choking down dog after dog while other competitors slowed as the clock wound down.
“I’m happy to come out with the win,” he remarked.
Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va. downed 45 hotdogs to win the women’s competition.
She reached her goal of eating 45 in the time limit—her age—and took home her own pink champion’s belt and $10,000.
Thomas, known as the “Black Widow” of competitive eating, won last year, as well, the first time a separate contest was held for women.
Juliet Lee, of Germantown, Md., took second place with 33 and won $5,000. Lee also won second place last year.
Third place went to Michelle Lesco of Tuscon, Ariz., who received $2,500 for downing 25-and-a-half.
Meredith Boxberger of Barrie, Ont. placed fourth in the women’s contest after gobbling 21-and-a-half hotdogs and collected $1,500.
“Pretty good Nathan’s debut,” Boxberger tweeted after the event.
“Once you get to about the 15th hotdog, you kind of wonder what you are doing . . . but they are calling out names and numbers and I am a competitive person so that keeps you going,” Boxberger told CTV-Barrie.
Boxberger, a former figure skater who also played softball in college, said she trains for these events by doing cardio workouts.
Thomas said she started to feel sick while eating but kept pushing so she could win the title.
“There is a limit so I have to fight,” she conceded.
Thomas said next year she’s going to beat her record again and eat 46.
“Because I’m going to be 46 next year,” she reasoned.
The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has been a city tradition for 97 years.
Tens of thousands of spectators gather to gawk as contestants shimmy, slither, and bounce as they dip hotdogs in water and cram them down their throats.
For some, it’s a painful reminder of excess—especially as the U.S. battles a growing obesity problem. The American Medical Association opposes competitive eating, saying it’s harmful to the human body.
But the competitive eaters are quite trim. Chestnut is more than six feet tall and a muscly 210 pounds while Thomas, who is 5’5”, weighed in at barely 100 pounds.
Hotdogs, though, aren’t the healthiest of choices. In addition to beef, they include salt and various food additives.
Chestnut’s total dog count was equal to more than 20,000 calories.