Joey Chestnut Eats 62 Hot Dogs, Wins Again
Sonya Thomas, meanwhile, wins first women's competition
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 4, 2011 2:11 PM CDT
Spectators cheer before the start of Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, Monday, July 4, 2011, on Coney Island, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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(Newser) – Joey Chestnut is still the top dog in the world of competitive hot dog devouring. This year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest was close for only the first few minutes, before “Jaws” ran away with it, scarfing down 62 hot dogs, ESPN reports. Takeru Kobayashi was once again absent thanks to his contract dispute, and without him Chestnut had an easy time of it. The second place finisher, Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, ate only 53.

“Winning tastes pretty good. I feel great,” said Chestnut, who has now won five years in a row but didn't beat his 2009 world record of 68 hot dogs. “It was hot out here, but that didn’t really affect me.” Chestnut will return to his day job as a San Jose construction worker $10,000 richer. “Listen I’m getting paid to eat,” he said. “It’s not too bad of a life.” Today also saw the first-ever women’s competition. Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas prevailed with 40 dogs, one shy of her record. The New York Daily News notes that Kobayashi did participate in a simultaneous, unsanctioned contest today: He ate 69 hot dogs, purchased this morning from the South Street Seaport Nathan's. (Click to read about the Kobayashi-related drama at last year's contest.)