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Monday, July 4, 2011
Joey Chestnut eats 62 hot dogs for 5th title in row


It was close for a few minutes, and then "Jaws" pulled away.

Joey Chestnut ate 62 hot dogs Monday to capture his fifth title in a row in Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

"Winning tastes pretty good. I feel great," Chestnut said. "It was hot out here but that didn't really affect me."

After an event in Washington, D.C., in a day or so, the 27-year-old Chestnut will head back to his normal life as a construction engineer in San Jose, Calif.

"My girlfriend didn't even make the trip out here to Coney Island," Chestnut said. "She just told me to come back in one piece."

It's really not much of a contest anymore, as Chestnut has dominated the past five years. Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti finished second with 53, while Tim Janus finished with 45.

With no Takeru Kobayashi -- dealing with a contract dispute -- and no real formidable foes, Chestnut will continue to win anytime he enters the contest, which celebrated its 96th year Monday. His total of 62 compares well to previous years -- 2010 (54), 2009 (world-record 68), 2008 (59) and 2007 (66) -- but he doesn't have anyone pushing him to a new mark.

"Listen, I'm getting paid to eat," said Chestnut, who won $10,000 for Monday's title. "It's not too bad of a life."

And barring injury or illness, Chestnut will be back next year. Before then, he might try some contests on his bucket list.

"I've never done oysters or hard-boiled eggs," Chestnut said. "I remember as a kid watching that movie -- 'Cool Hand Luke' -- with my grandfather. You remember that famous scene? That's what I want to try."

Chestnut was referring to the movie's famous scene in which Paul Newman ate 50 eggs on a bet. Piece of cake for Chestnut.

Also Monday, in the first-ever women's battle, Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas beat 2009 Rookie of the Year Juliet Lee and Stephanie Torres by eating 40 hot dogs, one short of her record. Lee and Torres each ate 29. Lee grabbed a six hot dog lead at the midpoint until Thomas stormed back.

"I can't measure how I'm feeling right now. I'm so happy," said Thomas, who also won $10,000. "I'm so full for hot dogs but I definitely can eat something later tonight."