July 5, 2011 in Nation/World

Man gobbles up fifth hot dog win

Verena Dobnik Associated Press
 

NEW YORK – Joey Chestnut scarfed down 62 hot dogs to win his fifth consecutive Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at Coney Island – the equivalent of about 20,000 calories in 10 minutes.

It wasn’t a personal best for the 27-year-old nicknamed Jaws, but it was enough to out-eat second-place finisher Patrick Bertoletti by nine wieners. Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., won $10,000 and the coveted mustard-yellow belt.

“I feel great!” he said after the contest, adding that he was going to drink a lot of water and avoid hot dogs for a few days.

Chestnut started at a blistering pace but couldn’t beat his own record of 68 “because I kept messing up,” he said, pausing for a burp. “Excuse me,” he told reporters squeezed around him.

This year, for the first time, the annual contest in front of Nathan’s Famous fast-food stand was broken into two divisions, one for men and one for women.

Sonya Thomas, known as the “Black Widow” of competitive eating, won with 40 downed dogs, earning $10,000 and her own pink champion’s belt.

“I’m so happy!” said Thomas, of Alexandria, Va.

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