PHOENIX -- A California man smashed the world record for hot
dog eating at a contest Saturday, gobbling up more than 59 franks
in 12 minutes.
Joe Chestnut, 23, of San Jose, shattered the record held by
Takeru Kobayashi of Japan by downing 59½ "HDBs" -- hot dogs and
buns -- during the Southwest Regional Hot Dog Eating Championship at
the Arizona Mills Mall in suburban Tempe.
Kobayashi's old record of 53½ was set last year at Nathan's
Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at Coney Island
in New York, said George Costos, who helps runs the regional
contests for Nathan's.
Chestnut placed second in last year's world championships,
consuming 52 hot dogs.
"He's unbelievable -- he just keeps on going," said Ryan Nerz,
who works for Major League Eating, which he describes as "a world
governing board for all stomach-centric sports."
"These guys' numbers have just been going up at a tremendous
clip," Nerz said. "I always thought there was a limit -- a limit
to the human stomach and a limit to human willpower -- but I guess
Chestnut won a free trip to New York, a year's supply of hot
dogs and a $250 gift card to the mall.