Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2012: Top Eaters to Watch at Storied Competition

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 2, 2012

NEW YORK - JULY 4: A crowd gathers before the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest begins on July 4, 2009 in Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California defeated Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan with eating 68 to his 64.5 hotdogs. Kobayashi won six previous competitions before tying last year with Chestnut. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

It's almost July 4th, so you know what that means: That's right, time to watch Joey Chestnut stuff himself silly with hot dogs for money.

Ahh, America. 

It's the day of the United States' independence, so why wouldn't we celebrate it with fat people—OK, they aren't all fat coming in, but they sure are after—eating a crap load of one of the most American foods out there? 

You got me. 

With that being said, let's take a look at the top eaters who will take center stage at Coney Island for what is being dubbed (by me) as the "Most Exciting 10 Minutes in Sports."

Note: Women's competition starts at 11:30 a.m. EST and the men's competition starts at noon EST. You can catch the action on ESPN at 3:00 p.m. EST. 


Joey Chestnut

With Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi out of the way (he'll be competing in the Crif Dog Classic—seriously), Chestnut will once again take home the "I Can Fit More Hot Dogs In My Belly Than You" award.

He scarfed down 62 hot dogs and buns last year—which happened to be six less than the world record he already holds—to take home his fifth career title. 

Assuming he's been going through his rigorous training, Chestnut will make a solid run at the record he set in 2009 and easily take home title No. 6.


Pat Bertoletti

In 2011, "Deep Dish" Bertoletti demolished 53 hot dogs. In some diner off the highway that might be seen as an accomplishment, but sitting next to Joey C?

Please. Fifty-three is child's play. Fifty-three is Kevin Durant to Chestnut's LeBron. Fifty-three is second place, and if you aren't first, you're last. 

But if cheesesteaks are anything like hot dogs, and they aren't, Bertoletti has a good chance to pull off the upset against Chestnut.

Speaking of which, are upsets in food-eating competitions even a thing? Isn't there just a certain amount of room in your belly? A line that you just can't cross?

Nonetheless, if someone is going to beat "Jaws," this is the guy. 


Sonya Thomas

Because why wouldn't a 44-year-old, 98-pound woman be able to down 40 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes?

That's natural, right?

In the first ever women's competition in 2011, Thomas destroyed not only the food in front of her, but the competition next to her, as second-place finisher Juliet Lee (a mother of two, go mom!) only ate a pathetic 29.5. 

Thomas is clearly the Chestnut of women, and she will prove that again in 2012. 


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