Joey Chestnut, of San Jose, California, outlasted six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan in the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York’s Coney Island Beach. Chestnut and Kobayashi were tied at the end of regulation at 59 hot dogs each.
Were they full? Well, too bad. They had to try to eat another five frank-and-bun sandwiches.
Event organizers said it was the first time the contest had gone into overtime in the history of the competition, which has been staged on the 4th of July at Coney Island since 1916. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the 10-minute regulation period, the two arch rivals had each consumed 59 dogs and buns, which forced a sudden-death (did they really dare call it that?) overtime period. Whoever was able to eat five more hot dogs the quickest would be crowned the 2008 champion.
When the mustard cleared, it was Chestnut who was the weiner winner, collecting the $10,000 prize money and the mustard-yellow championship belt—oh, and a year’s supply of hot dogs from Nathan’s. Bet he can’t wait to dig into those.
Kobayashi had won the event six six consecutive years, prior to Chestnut’s upset victory in 2007. And he came so close this year, he could almost smell it. Well, I guess he actually could smell it.
The contest, televised live by ESPN, has become a Fourth of July tradition in the U.S. and a focal point of National Hot Dog Month.