Every Fourth of July, the hottest sport news from New York City is the annual ritual of ten-minute hot dog contest. This year, it's not so straight forward, for the one who ate the most did not win the contest.
On Independence Day, 2011, championship eater Takeru Kobayashi reportedly broke the world record of hot dog eating off-site, while Joey Chestnut officially won his 5th straight victory at Nathan's Hot Dog Eating contest.
In Nathan's Famous Corporation's best-known restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Coney Island, four-time-defending champion Chestnut once again defended his title by consuming 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes. After the competition, Chestnut commented, I came out here to win. I did what I had to do.
On the other hand, it was the rooftop of a Manhattan bar at 230 Fifth, where Kobayashi ate 69 hot dogs, as he competed in sync remotely via a live satellite feed.
His consumption of 69 dogs would crown him as the world record holder, one above the current record of 68 which Chestnut has held since 2009.
However, he refused to sign the contract with Major League Eating & International Federation of Competitive Eating, thus cannot compete officially. Avoiding the venue this year, Kobayashi declared his independence of showcasing his dominance on top of a New York Bar.
Was it wise for Kobayashi to choose the rooftop?
Kobayashi was defeated by Chestnut whenever the two battled head-to-head. This time around, his victory may have benefitted from staying away from the Coney Island venue.
However, since he was not monitored by a committee, the result cannot be counted as a record. While he may have eaten the most number of hot dogs, his refusal to compete cheapened any amount of hot dogs he put down, commented Bleacher Report.
Kobayashi won the contest for 6 years in a row from 2001 to 2006, and then was beaten by Chestnut from 2007 on.
Back in the glorious days, the Associated Press reported Kobayashi as a wiry Japanese man ready for eating contest. (June 17, 2004, AP) The article said, He's taken on sumo wrestlers. No contest. Former NFL star William 'The Refrigerator' Perry, three times his size, took up the gauntlet. Not even close. Nobody, but nobody, can eat hot dogs like Japan's Takeru 'The Tsunami' Kobayashi. And, once again, he's in training to devour the field at one of competitive eating's most venerable battles.
Kobayashi, who was once hailed by his fans as the prince of gluttony, was arrested on July 4, 2010. Kobayashi watched the contest, mingling with the crowd and standing inside a police-barricaded pen under the stage.
When the competition came to an end, he slipped up the stage stairs and crashed the stage. One security officer quickly ushered him offstage as he resisted vehemently, hanging on to the barricades and fences before being taken into custody, according to Wikipedia. According to his interpreter, Kobayashi intended to cheer on his fellow competitive eaters, but after arriving and the chanting from the fans, he was swooped onto the stage from mere excitement. The crowd chanted, Free Kobi! (it was written on his T-shirt) and Let him eat! while police handcuffed him and later charged him with obstruction of governmental administration, resisting arrest, trespassing and disorderly conduct. Kobayashi spent the rest of Independence Day in jail.
I'm really hungry, he said outside Brooklyn Criminal Court after spending a night behind bars.
I wish there were hot dogs in jail.
Kobayashi lives in Chelsea, in an apartment decorated with a zebra-skin rug, antique lamps, and an array of competitive eating memorabilia, according to Deadspin. On his mantel, he has arranged a stylized image of himself chowing on hot dogs at Nathans, several magazines with stories about him, a Guinness World Record medallion for spaghetti consumption (100 grams in 45 seconds, the final 20 of which were spent trying to scoop one last slippery noodle into his mouth), and a poster of the Declaration of Independence, said the website.
The first place winner of Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest receives a trophy, two cases of Nathan's Famous hot dogs, Nathan's Belt, and cash prize of $10,000.
Listen, I'm getting paid to eat, said Chestnut. It's not too bad of a life.
After an event in Washington, D.C., in a day or so, the 27-year-old Chestnut will head back to his normal life as a construction engineer in San Jose, California, reported ESPN.
My girlfriend didn't even make the trip out here to Coney Island, Chestnut commented. She just told me to come back in one piece.