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Hot Dog Champs Repeat

Joey Chestnut downs 71, Miki Sudo 31
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 4, 2019 2:53 PM CDT
Juliet Lee, left, Miki Sudo, center, and Michelle Lesko, right, compete in the closing moments of the women's competition of the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest, Thursday, July 4, 2019,...   (AP Photo/Sarah Stier)
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(Newser) – Joey "Jaws" Chestnut ate 71 wieners and buns to secure his 12th title at Nathan's Famous annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest on Thursday, just a few hot dogs shy of breaking the record he set last year. In front of a crowd of fans and facing 17 opponents, the California native far exceeded his nearest competitors, but didn't quite make or pass the 74-dog mark he reached in 2018. When asked how he felt after the contest, Chestnut said, per the AP, "I feel like I should eat a couple more." Chestnut has only lost once since 2007, when he pulled ahead of Takeru Kobayashi, who no longer competes, for the first time. An ESPN documentary released Tuesday features the longtime rivals and their extreme training regimens. "It's not something that there's books written about," Chestnut says in the film, which shows him lifting his head up and down with a weight dangling from his mouth. "There's not trainers. Everything's trial and error."

Miki Sudo had already won the women's competition by chomping down 31 hot dogs. She said she felt "wonderful" as she walked off the stage. The 33-year-old fell short of her total last year of 37 frankfurters but earned her sixth consecutive title by easily beating runner-up Michelle Lesco, who wolfed down 26. Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas holds the all-time women's record of 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Chesnut and Sudo will each take home $10,000. Spectators with foam hot dog hats, plastic noisemakers and homemade signs descended on Coney Island's famed boardwalk for the contest. The annual eat-off started in 1972, though the company has long promoted the event with a theatrical backstory that places its start date in 1916.

(Read more Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest stories.)

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