Defending champion eats 74 hot dogs to set new record

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Joey “Jaws” Chestnut consumed 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes in an annual July 4 eating contest.

Chestnut claimed the coveted Mustard Belt for an 11th time at the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating competition in Brooklyn.

Miki Sudo held onto her title as the top women’s competitor, downing 37 sausages and buns to take home the top prize for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year.

Miki Sudo
Miki Sudo retained her title (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

But while Chestnut ate 10 more dogs and buns than second-place finisher Carmen Cincotti, a judging error cast initial doubt over their totals after jurists did not see the eaters were taking the dogs and buns from two plates.

“Frankly, the judging was just off,” George Shea, the long-time Coney Island announcer, told The Associated Press.

“Joey said, ‘look at my plates’ and Carmen said ‘look at my plates.’ We counted the plates that they had eaten and it was 64 and 74.”

A judge counts the plates of hot dogs
The judging was controversial this year (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“At the end of the day, Joey Chestnut came in here and ate 74 hot dogs, broke a world record,” said Cincotti, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday. “Apparently they were good dogs.”

Carmen Cincotti, left, and Joey Chestnut
Carmen Cincotti, left, pushed Joey Chestnut right, hard (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Sudo fell short of the 41 hot dogs she consumed last year, but easily beat second-place finisher Mischelle Lesco of Tuscon, Arizona, who ate 28 hot dogs.

Thousands of attendees, many donning mustard-coloured hot dog caps, braved hot temperatures to witness the annual July 4 competition on the Coney Island boardwalk.

The outlandish tradition dates to 1972, though the company has long promoted what a former president acknowledged was a legendary start date of 1916.

Fan Martha Pleasant, 41, of Franklin, New Jersey, said she was attending the competitive eating competition to support her husband Dwight, who “loves wieners”.

“We are trying to knock something off my hubby’s bucket list,” she said.

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