Although Joey “Jaws” Chestnut walked away from the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest with his fifth straight win, his mustard champion’s belt may be a little less prestigious this year.
By downing 62 hot dogs and water-soaked buns, Chestnut easily conquered the competition at the Coney Island showdown, but his rival – Takeru Kobayashi – outmatched him from a Manhattan rooftop. Although Chestnut took away $10,000 worth of winnings for his feat, Kobayashi potentially broke a world-record when he concurrently consumed 69 dogs (purchased from a Nathan’s earlier that day).
(LIST: Top 10 Evil Sports)
Kobayashi has been engaged in an ongoing contract dispute with Major League Eating for two years, so he is barred from competing in the popular tournament. Instead, he took to the roof of the bar 230 Fifth, where he competed head-to-head with Chestnut and the other eaters in the form of the live ESPN coverage of the competition on a 12-foot screen.
Judges timed the rogue eater and kept close count of how many dogs he consumed. When the ten minute timer had run down, there was no doubt that Kobayashi had prevailed.
Chestnut, who set the official world record of 68 wieners and buns in 2009, has largely dismissed Kobayashi’s refusal to compete in person as a publicity stunt, and says he still considers himself the champion eater.
“Some things you’ll have to pry from my cold dead fingers,” he told the New York Daily News about his yellow belt. “I’ll do anything I can to win.”
Event organizers agreed that calling Chestnut anything other than world champion was out of the question. Major League Eating president George Shea called Kobayashi’s record-breaking performance a “farce.”
When Kobayashi first began his public contract dispute over his freedom to participate in whichever competitions he wanted, some (including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg) suggested that he was simply making excuses to avoid losing to Chestnut for a fourth time in a row.
But after Monday’s performance, Kobayashi said he considers his remote dominance the perfect response to Shea and his other detractors.
“I think I showed them,” he told the Daily News. “I’m very happy about my win today but I feel like I’m not at my peak. I think I could go up to 90 or 85.”
Estimates put Chestnut’s hot dog haul at almost 20,000 calories.
(PHOTOS: Takeru Kobayashi)