Contestants Get Set for Annual Nathan's Hot Dog Contest

by Kris Venezia
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Table with hot dog champion belts.
kris venezia, wfuv

Competitors weighed-in today at City Hall Park.

Contestants for the Nathan's annual hot dog eating competition took part in a weigh at City Hall Park before tomorrow's event.

Last year's male winner, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, came in at 210 pounds. While on the female side, defending champion Sonya "The Black Window" Thomas weighed-in at 100 pounds. Chestnut says staying fit is important for the competition.

"I run like a madman, unfortunately. I hate running, but I have to run to keep my health. I know the healthier I am, the better I eat during the contest," Chestnut said.

The 97th annual hot dog eating contest starts at 11:30 AM in Coney Island. Mayor Bloomberg, who was at City Hall Park for the weigh-in, says times have changed since the early days of the competition.

"Back then eating 20 hot dogs in ten minutes was considered an incredible, inedible, feat. For many of this year's contestants, that would be considered an appetizer," Bloomberg said.

Sonya Thomas works at a fast food restaurant, and she says she eats at her workplace every day. The defending champion has high expectations for this year's event.

"I'm going to try to break my own record of 41," she said, "My goal is 45."

Joey Chestnut holds the world record for the most hot dogs eaten in ten minutes with 68. If he wins, it would be his sixth straight title which ties the record for most victories all-time.

"The weird things go through my mind when I'm eating in a contest. I've practiced ignoring feelings like full and pain. I worry about stupid things like tipping over my water or listening to my little brother who's yelling at me," Chestnut said.

Nathan's Famous will donate 100,000 hot dogs to New York food banks for the event.
 

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