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Entries in Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest (1)

Monday
Jul042011

Calories Galore: Eating Pros Square Off at Hot Dog Eating Contest

ABC News(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) -- Every city in America has its way of proving its patriotism this July 4th but the country unites in that most gluttonous of festivals: The 96th Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. It is a spectacle of spittle.

Even in an era of obesity awareness, the hot dog contest endures. Reigning champion Joey Chestnut once ate a record 68 hot dogs and buns, the equivalent of 21,000 calories, in 10 minutes.

"I love hot dogs," Chestnut said. "There's a couple of foods that if you see me eat them in a contest, you can tell I like them. Grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken wings, ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza. I mean those, they go down like I was made to eat them."

Chestnut of San Jose, Calif., has won the contest in Brooklyn, N.Y., the past four years. Before that, Takeru Kobayashi won six consecutive years. Kobayashi split from Major League Eating and plans to stage his own show in Manhattan.

For the first time this year, Nathan's will sponsor separate competitions for men and women. The top female eater is 100-pound Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va., who last year ate 41 hot dogs and buns.

The contest is gross; so gross you can't help but watch, and thousands of spectators are expected to crowd the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues in front of the original Nathan's Famous hot dog stand.

The contest requires eaters to consume the entire hot dog and bun. They can drink in between to moisten the path but buns cannot be softened by dunking in water.

Any "reversal of fortune," Major League Eating's term for vomiting, results in an automatic disqualification.

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