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Californian Wins Hot-Dog Eating Contest

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Can you eat 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes? Well, Joey Chestnut of Vallejo, CA can - he was this year's champion of the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest , beating out six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi for the Mustard Belt. Our good friends over at Gothamist liveblogged the whole affair, which took place yesterday at Coney Island (natch); even Mayor Bloomberg himself showed up to check out the dog-tastic proceedings.

Kobayashi has been ranked the number one competitive eater in the world by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (yes, there is such a group, and it is awesome), but he was coming into this year's event with some serious handicaps: an arthritic jaw and recent wisdom-tooth surgery. Chestnut, who is ranked number two, managed to take the win and destroyed his previous record (59 1/2 dogs) in the process - and yes, that includes buns.

Nathan's has been crowning a new hot dog champ every year since 1916 -- almost 50,000 people showed up for this year's event, which also included famed competitive eaters Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas (whose small size -- 105 pounds! -- belies her big appetite), and Patrick Bertoletti of Chicago, who came in third with 49 hot dogs devoured.

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Chestnut won $20,000 for his pains - that should be more than enough to buy a lifetime's supply of Pepto Bismol.

AP Photo by Louis Lanzano