July 4, 2009

Chestnut retains hot dog-eating crown

Defending Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut says he practiced hard to successfully retain his crown Saturday in New York.

The 25-year-old told the New York Daily News he went into the annual Fourth of July competition in Coney Island confident he would repeat as the hot dog-eating champion of the world.

I've been practicing hard, Chestnut said wolfing down a personal high with 68 hot dogs. I knew it would be hard to beat me.

Chestnut said despite going against six-time titleholder Takeru (Tsunami) Kobayashi, he felt comfortable after consuming 23 hot dogs in the event's first two minutes.

After the second minute I knew my body was cooperating, said the 218-pound winner, who earned the event's Mustard Belt award and $20,000 prize.

The Daily News said Chestnut's victory at the 94th annual contest came a year after he narrowly defeated Kobayashi in the competitive eating contest.