Takeru Kobayashi won another Fourth of July hot dog eating competition by downing 68-1/2 of the wieners and buns— even if he was three subway transfer stops from the Nathan's Hot Dog Contest being held on the Coney Island boardwalk.
Kobayashi won the inaugural Crif Dog Classic after downing 68-1/2 hot dogs in ten minutes under sweltering temperatures. He ate 68 off the plate but judges awarded the extra half after they saw that he finished a whole hot dog and left only part of a bun giving him the additional half. Check the rule book folks.
Last Fourth of July, Kobayashi broke the world record by eating 69 hot dogs while competing against a simulcast of the Nathan's contest while on a rooftop bar in mid-town Manhattan. This year Kobayashi kicked off the new event in Roberta's pizza restaurant garden in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn that attracted about 500 fans.
After word came in that Kobayashi's main rival Joey Chestnut had just won the Nathan's competition two hours earlier— tying Kobayashi's record with six Nathan's titles apiece—by eating 68 hot dogs in ten minutes, the Japanese star set out to top him against what could be considered a lesser bunch of competitors. Even so, it looked like Kobayashi competed against himself and stole the thunder from Chestnut from an alternate location once again.
Under difficult circumstances— hot temps, a crowded stage and a hotter card flipper who didn't know how to flip (check the full video)— the popular Kobayashi didn't let his fans down. The 34-year old Kobi may not have broken his own record but he said he was satisfied eating the most hot dogs in ten minutes once again— either here or at Coney Island.
The Crif Dog Classic was created just to give Kobayashi a place to compete after he was banned from the Nathan's contest due to his refusal to sign an exclusive contract to participate. Kobayashi waddled away with $15,000 at the Crif while Chestnut took home $10,000 at the Nathan's contest.
Nathan's will not comment on Kobayashi or honor his hot dog eating achievements and records.
The new competition wouldn't have any relevance if it weren't for the presence of Kobayashi and Nathan's loses a lot of credibility without him.
After his overwhelming victory— second place went to a woman who ate 31 Bushwick Barkers— Kobayashi said he had trained for the event by expanding his stomach. "I drank three gallons of water in 10 minutes to stretch it out," he said while lifting his shirt to show off the 18 extra pounds he had just gained.
"I was only expecting to eat 55 hot dogs today, so I'm not disappointed," said Kobi as he pushed out his bloated stomach.
Maybe one of these quirky contests can get both Kobayashi and Chestnut at the same table one day. Until then, there will always be an * next to their numbers.
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