Perennial champion again wins hot dog eating contest

Mon Jul 4, 2011 6:03pm EDT
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Holding aloft a trophy in one hand and a bottle of Pepto-Bismol in the other, Joey Chestnut on Monday was top dog once again.

Chestnut was declared world champion for the fifth year running at the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at New York's Coney Island after stuffing 62 hot dogs down his throat in 10 minutes.

Chestnut, a 220-pound 27-year-old engineering student from San Jose, California, bested 16 other competitors including three who had flown in from China, according to George Shea, the competition's exuberant master of ceremonies.

Chestnut palpated his belly in preparation for the contest. After a countdown, ten minutes began ticking down on the clock as the men went the job furiously, side-by-side, cheek to jowl, to the cheers of hundreds of spectators.

"It's almost like he's bending the hot dogs in his mouth like oral origami," Shea said of Chestnut, who periodically shook his stomach vigorously in what fans said has become his trademark move.

"He's an artist. The hot dogs submit to him. Matter bends to his will. He has God's username and password and he's using it to his advantage," Shea told the boisterous crowd on a warm afternoon.

Dripping with sweat, Chestnut was later draped in a U.S. flag and handed the mustard-yellow belt of the champion -- along with a winner's check for $10,000.

What was he doing to do now he had 62 hot dogs inside him?   Continued...

<p>Pat Bertoletti (L) and Joey Chestnut compete in the 2011 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York July 4, 2011. REUTERS/Allison Joyce</p>