Competitive Eating

Joey Chestnut Retains Hot Dog Title on Coney Island, Patrick Bertoletti Second

NEW YORK - JULY 4:  Referees gather under the stage 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
Anthony PucikCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2011

It’s customary for Americans to eat hot dogs on the fourth of July. Joey Chestnut takes this to extremes.

The 27-year-old California native won his fifth straight Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, plowing through 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

The victory did not come easy for the No. 1 ranked eater in the world. Patrick “Deep Dish” Bertoletti stood with Chestnut for most of the contest, giving him some surprising completion. Halfway through, the 25-year-old Chicago native was only four hot dogs behind Chestnut, who was leading with 38.

Chestnut really started to pull away from Bertoletti during the sixth minute of the contest. Starting minute six with only a three hot dog lead, Chestnut went into the seventh minute ahead of Bertoletti by five, taking a comfortable lead over the No. 2 ranked eater in the world.

From there Chestnut never looked back, out-eating Bertoletti by four hot dogs in the last three minutes of the contest to retain his Independence Day title. The final tally was Chestnut: 62, Bertoletti: 53. Chestnut said after, “I came out here to win, and did what I had to do.”

One thing that Chestnut was not able to do was break his previous record of 68 hot dogs set two years ago. He was on pace to break the record at the six-minute mark with 48 hot dogs, but ate only four hot dogs in the seventh minute, putting the record out of reach. While Chestnut said he's "always looking for a record,” he still “felt great,” about the win and his performance.

A surprise came toward the end of the contest, with the resigning of the No. 8 ranked eater in the world, Tim “Gravy” Brown. The 32-year-old Chicago native, who was one of the favorites in the contest to compete with Chestnut, said that he was not feeling well before the beginning of the contest, and ended up withdrawing with two minutes and 43 seconds left.

This year’s contest marked the second year in a row that Takeru Kobayashi did not participate.

Kobayashi refused to take part in the contest after contract disputes with Major League Eating where they forbade him to compete in eating contests not approved by them. Last year Kobayashi spectated as the contest went on, then charged the stage and was arrested. He was not seen in attendance this year.

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