The Vallejo, California native won his sixth consecutive competition at Coney Island on the Fourth of July, inhaling a ridiculous 68 hot dogs in the most artery-clogging event on Independence Day.
This year was even more of a massacre than last year. In 2011, Chestnut beat his nearest competitor by nine hot dogs. This year, under the sweltering southern Brooklyn sun, Chestnut ate 16 more dogs than second-place finisher, Tim "Eater X" Janus.
Forget the fact that it's because of traditions like this that the United States is the most obese country on the entire planet. Forget the fact that it's disgusting to watch a group of grown men shove hundreds of hot dogs down their gullets.
The competition has been ruined because Chestnut cannot be beat. His output—or intake, rather—is so far ahead of the rest of the field that it's beyond unfair.
Now, this isn't to say that the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest needs to be abolished. After all, the first contest was held in 1916, and there seems to be no end in sight. It's just to say that any contest is boring to watch when there's no argument as to who the winner is going to be.
Don't tell me you wouldn't have bet a lot of money on Chestnut winning that competition if you had to pick one winner. You'd be lying if you did.
That is why we need Takeru Kobayashi.
Who cares if he literally lost his mind in 2010 when he didn't compete because of a contract dispute and tried to storm the stage, having to be pried from the surrounding barricades by law enforcement?
Who cares if he didn't compete for the second straight year?
All we should care about is that he is the only person who can feasibly challenge Chestnut for the title of hot dog eating king.
The man kept up with a bear in a hot dog eating contest. He didn't win, but he kept it close enough to be extremely impressive.
Chestnut's sustained dominance has been truly impressive over the last six years, but there needs to be something done to spice up the competition. Priority one should be to invite Kobayashi back into the spotlight of the contest.
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