Hotdog-eating champ tastes victory again in US contest

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut taking part in the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4.
Competitive eater Joey Chestnut taking part in the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Legendary competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut wolfed down a record 70 hotdogs - buns and all - in just 10 minutes on Monday (July 4) to reclaim his crown at an annual New York competition.

His gastric feat at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island marked a return to form for the 32-year-old Californian, who saw his eight-year winning streak broken by challenger Matt "Megatoad" Stonie in 2015.

This year, the 24-year-old Stonie fell short, managing just 53 frankfurters to come second.

The women's contest was won for the third time by Ms Miki Sudo, 30, who chomped down 38.5 dogs.

Held by one of America's best-known wiener purveyors, the competition supposedly dates back 100 years.

It is held annually on the July 4 holiday, and pushes America's love of Independence Day hotdogs to a stomach-churning extreme.

Competitors slide franks into their gullets while drenching the buns in water to make them easier to swallow, then wriggle around to help the meaty mouthfuls descend into their stomachs.

Mr Chestnut trains regularly, often eating between 35 to 70 wieners at a time, as well as drinking copious amounts of water to maintain his stomach's stretchiness.

He broke his own competition record of 69 hotdogs, dating back to 2013. On June 25, he managed 73.5 dogs during a qualifying round.

Anyone who vomits is disqualified.

Thousands come to watch the competition, broadcast by national sports network ESPN. This year's total prize purse amounted to US$40,000 (S$53,900).

Among Mr Chestnut's curious eating accomplishments: In 2015, he ate 205 chicken wings in just 12 minutes, and earlier this year downed 30 gyros (Greek sandwiches) in 10 minutes.