July 5, 2007
In a gut-busting showdown that combined drama, daring and indigestion, Joey Chestnut emerged yesterday as the world's hot dog eating champion, knocking off six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi in a record-setting yet repulsive triumph.
Chestnut, the great red, white and blue hope in the annual Fourth of July competition, broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes – a staggering one every 10.9 seconds before a screaming crowd at Coney Island.
“If I needed to eat another one right now, I could,” the 23-year-old San Jose resident said after receiving the mustard yellow belt emblematic of hot dog-eating supremacy.
Kobayashi, the Japanese eating machine, recently had a wisdom tooth extracted and received chiropractic treatment because of a sore jaw. But the winner of every Nathan's hot dog competition from 2001 through '06 showed no ill effects as he stayed with Chestnut frank-for-frank until the end of the 12-minute competition.
Once the contest ended, the runner-up suffered a reversal – competitive eating-speak for throwing up – leading to a deduction from his final total. Kobayashi finished with 63 HDBs (hot dogs and buns eaten) in his best performance.
Kobayashi's previous best was 53½ in the competition that dates back to 1916. The all-time record before yesterday's contest was Chestnut's 59½, set last month in Tempe, Ariz.