Takeru Kobayashi may not be competing in the world-famous Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, but that doesn't mean he still won't be in Brooklyn trying to top his world record at another tube steak eating competition this Fourth of July.
Kobayashi has formed his own competition this year after contract disputes and restrictions kept him out of the last two Nathan's competitions. Throw in an arrest for crashing the 2010 event and you have all the makings of a mustard covered rivalry.
On Wednesday, the 34-year old Kobayashi and ten other world-class competitive eaters will challenge the world record at the inaugural 2012 Crif Dog Classic in that newest hipster-enclave Bushwick, Brooklyn— about six subway transfers from the boardwalk.
Last July Fourth, Kobayashi competed independently against only the clock and a simulcast of the Nathan's contest at a rooftop bar in Mid-town Manhattan. He set a new world record by downing 69 hot dogs in front of two judges and hopes to top that by downing even more Bushwick Barkers this year.
The diminutive Kobayashi held the hot dog eating world record for almost six years before Joey Chestnut became the new champ in 2007. Chestnut— the five-time champion of the Nathan's competition— still doesn't give credit to Kobayashi for breaking his record of 68 last year and sounded bitter after Kobi claimed the record as his own.
"I think even Kobayashi would agree that the record still stands at 68," said Chestnut. "And if he wants to compete with me on the Fourth of July, he knows what he has to do: sign a simple agreement and man up."
It starting to sound like the old AFL upstarts showing up the NFL.
Did I hear the words Super Bowl of Hot Dog Eating.