Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest: Chestnut does it again and breaks world record

Two years ago, reigning Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan was injured with a jaw problem, and since he was not at 100% he let American Joey Chestnut (from San Jose) take over the yellow mustard belt. But Chestnut proved last year that the win was no fluke, beating Kobayashi in a dog-off, and today he won for the third straight year, eating a world record 68 dogs (last year’s record was 59 before the 5-dog tiebreaker). Kobayashi ate 64.5 to finish second, while Patrick Bertoletti came in third with a very respectable 55 dogs.

After announcing the rules, including the new 5-second dunking limit, and after sideline reporter Rob Stone whirred a few dogs in a blender and drank a slug of what he called a “Stoney Shake,” (ewwwwww) they announced each competitor as they do every year, as if they are the Lakers and Celtics players. Other standout competitors were Sonya Thomas, aka “The Black Widow,” who looks like she’s barely 100 pounds but holds world eating records for oysters, buffalo wings, and Vienna sausage. Another tough female competitor was Juliet Lee, who has records in Cherrystone clams and cranberry sauce. Tim “Gravy” Brown, Eric “Badlands” Booker and Tim “Eater X” Janus rounded out the top of the field.

The pace began frenetically, as the announcers said a good rate was 8 dogs per minute, but after the first minute Kobayashi held an 11-10 lead over Chestnut, and at the halfway point it was 42-40 Chestnut. With one minute left, Chestnut, who looked like he was in agony as usual (how could he not be?), was slowing down but managed to have downed 63 dogs by then, to 61 for Kobayashi.

So Chestnut, who also holds world records in funnel cake and deep-fried asparagus, broke his own hot dog record and with three straight yellow belts, is only three away from tying the number of titles held by his arch rival Kobayashi.

Yum, I bet you all now just have to go have a hot dog or sixty. Enjoy your Fourth and be safe!

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