Coney Island's Hot Dog Eating Contest 2012: Chestnut and Thomas Win, Still No Kobayashi

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If you're still stuffed from Independence Day barbeques, imagine how Joey "Jaws" Chestnut feels. The 28-year-old Californian won his sixth consecutive [Nathan's Famous July 4 International Hot Dog-Eating Contest]( at Coney Island yesterday by consuming 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Chestnut beat out Tim Janus of New York (2nd place, 52 dogs), Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago (3rd place, 51 dogs) and other men's division competitors to tie his previous lifetime best from 2009's competition. He walked home with 10,000 more dollars and 20,000 more calories. Sonya Thomas of Virginia also won $10k in the women's division by eating 45 hot dogs in the same time limit. According to the Associated Press, Thomas is known as the "Black Widow" of competitive eating, and weighs barely 100 pounds. Juliet Lee of Maryland (33 dogs) and Michelle Lesco of Arizona (25.5 dogs) placed behind her. Now a 97-year-old tradition, the Coney Island hot dog eating contest is a premier event in the world of competitive eating that attracts tens of thousands of spectators each year. Absent for the third time in a row, however, was Joey Chestnut's rival, the competition's other six-time reigning champion, Takeru Kobayashi, who was banned in 2010 after he [refused to sign an exclusive contract]( Major League Eating. Kobayashi sat on the rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton last Fourth of July and ate along with the televised contest, beating Chestnut's 68 hot dog world record by one. This year, he organized his own [contest]( at Crif Dogs in Brooklyn. He beat Chestnut again by half a dog. The MLE and Chestnut refuse to recognize Kobayashi's accomplishments. "I think even Kobayashi would agree that the record still stands at 68," Chestnut said after the Ritz-Carlton stunt, according to [International Business Times]( "If he wants to compete with me on the Fourth of July, he knows what he has to do: sign a simple contract and man up."

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