Jul 4, 2012, 6:31 PM EDT
Despite the best efforts of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest establishment to ignore his existence, Hot Dog Rebel Takeru Kobayashi still managed to steal the spotlight from Joey Chestnut in the weiner eating war. At Coney Island, Chestnut gobbled 68 hot dogs to win the Nathan’s 2012 title, and the people rejoiced. But a couple of miles away, Kobayashi — banned from the Nathan’s event in 2010 due to a contract dispute — scarfed 68 1/2 dogs to win the inaugural Crif Hot Dog Classic.
Kobayashi may have had an advantage in one respect — the Crif Dog Classic began at 3 p.m. ET, while the Nathan’s event took place at about 1 p.m. But while Nathan’s is calling Chestnut’s sixth straight win (tying him with Kobayashi for the record) the “official” 2012 hot dog eating title, Kobayashi can point to the fact that his victory netted a $15,000 first prize, while Chestnut took home only $10,000.
The Crif Dog Classic was held at Roberta’s, a popular restaurant in Brooklyn’s Bushwick district. It was streamed live on SI.com and on UStream, while the Nathan’s contest was streamed live in ESPN3.com. Both were held under the same rules and the same conditions. So, who’s to say which victory was more significant?
Women’s winners? Sonia “The Black Widow” Thomas won Nathan’s for the second straight year, with 45 dogs. As for Crif Dog, it looks like the women competed in the same field as the men — with Stephanie Torres tying for second place with Tom Gilbert at 31 dogs.
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