Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2012: Predicting Results for Top Competitors

John RozumCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2012

NEW YORK - JULY 4: A family eats hot dogs in front of an advertisement for the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, to undergo later that day, 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

We're finally to the Fourth of July, and America's most famous eating contest is about to take place.

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will take place and it's a rare glimpse of how to pound food at an impressive rate.

Joey Chestnut is the most well-known competitor and the expected favorite. This article will examine some of the top competitors.


Joey Chestnut

Looking for his sixth consecutive title, Joey Chestnut is the Michael Jordan of eating contests. Takeru Kobayashi won six straight until Chestnut took over, and this guy hasn't slowed down.

He's significantly improved in the last two contests and the man is only 28 years old. Yes, we're talking eating potential and this guy has it.

No one other than Kobayashi can challenge Chestnut, and, unfortunately, this Magic-Bird rivalry won't happen this year.

Kobayashi is competing in another contest that simply doesn't compare to Nathan's. So with no pressure from the field, Chestnut will just roll along, but don't expect a record-breaking performance.

Prediction: 59 Hot Dogs

Patrick Bertoletti

The one man who has a fighter's chance at competing with Chestnut is Patrick Bertoletti. 

Muscling down 53 hot dogs in 2011, Bertoletti was nine off from Chestnut, so the man clearly has a long way to go. Chestnut could put down 53 in his sleep and he's scarfed down more than 53 in each of his five championships.

Therefore, if Bertoletti is going to be a legit challenger, he'll have to force through that nauseous feeling you get when eating too much. Then again, if he wants to be a champion, going that extra mile is imperative.

Prediction: 55 Hot Dogs 

Sonya Thomas

The winner of the women's title last year, Sonya Thomas is a damn impressive eater for her size.

She's only 98 pounds, however, she managed to eat 40 en route to the first women's championship in 2011. In 2010, Thomas finished fourth overall with 36 hot dogs and sixth in 2009 with 41.

Easily the most consistently dominant woman in the field, Thomas is a bigger challenge to Chestnut than most men. She'll cakewalk to winning the women's side of the contest and make it two straight titles as well.

Prediction: 43 Hot Dogs