Day of the Dog

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Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

NEW YORK — Joey Chestnut downed 69 franks and broke his own record in the men’s Fourth of July hot dog eating contest while Sonya Thomas defended her title in the women’s competition.

First-place finishers Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas (MLE)

The San Jose man known as Jaws ate one more wiener than his previous record to capture the mustard-yellow champion’s belt. He said afterwards that he was motivated by the prestige, not the $10,000 prize money.

“I’d do this for nothing,” he said.

In second place among the men was Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, a Nikkei native of San Jose and the youngest member of Major League Eating (the world body that oversees all professional eating contests), who achieved a personal best of 51 hot dogs. He placed fourth last year.

A nutrition major at Mission College in Santa Clara, Stone has consumed 5.5. pounds of cake in 8 minutes, 59 seconds this past May on his 21st birthday and 30 slugburgers (a Mississippi delicacy) in 10 minutes in July 2012.

The Korean-born Thomas, a 100-pound dynamo from Alexandria, Va. known as the “Black Widow” of competitive eating, wolfed down nearly 37 wieners to narrowly eke out her own victory. The women’s prize was $5,000.

Juliet Lee, a native of China now living in Germantown, Md., was in second place with 36.

Second-place finishers Matt Stonie and Juliet Lee (MLE)

Chestnut, 29, is a seven-time winner who set the old record — 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes — in 2009 and tied it last year.

Thomas, 45, powered through 45 dogs to take the women’s championship last year and also won in 2011, the first year women competed separately.

In last year’s gyoza eating contest at Nisei Week in Los Angeles, Chestnut was first with 266, Stonie second with 234, and Lee fifth with 157. In 2011, Stonie was second with 213 and Thomas third with 209. The gyoza contest does not have men’s and women’s divisions.

With this year’s hot dog victory, Chestnut has now bested his former rival, Takeru Kobayashi, who won six times. Kobayashi participated in a different eating contest Thursday at the Eventi Hotel in New York City, where he faced off with seven other competitive eaters.

“I wanted to eat more than 70, but I won with 67 hot dogs,” Kobayashi posted on Facebook. “I did my best and I had a great time. I really thank everyone for your big support!”

Takeru Kobayashi

He also unveiled his new line of all-beef Midwestern grain-fed hot dogs, known as Kobi Dogs.

After refusing to sign an exclusive contract with Major League Eating, Kobayashi, whose personal record is 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes, was banned from the Nathan’s competition in 2010.

On July 13 in New Jersey, Kobayashi will attempt to set the world record for most cupcakes — from Sugar Flake Bakery, a local favorite — eaten in one minute. He has won other contests for eating bratwurst, pizza and chicken wings, among others.

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