SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Matt Stonie shocked the competitive eating world Saturday by upsetting Joey “Jaws” Chestnut at the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island, breaking Chestnut’s bid for a ninth straight victory. Both competitors hail from San Jose.
Stonie, 23, who finished second last year, downed 62 hot dogs and buns, beating Chestnut by two.
As thousands of spectators observed the eaters on an elevated stage, the next closest competitor ate 32 hot dogs.
“I trained hard for this. This is actually amazing,” Stonie told ESPN, which broadcast the competition live like the major sporting event its biggest fans say it has become.
Afterward, Stonie, holding his fist in the air in victory, said he came into the competition confident and prepared in his quest for the $10,000 prize and the coveted mustard yellow winner’s championship belt.
“We don’t just go up there and eat hot dogs. We practice for this. We prepare our bodies,” Stonie said. “It was a tough contest. Joey brings it all. I had to push really hard to beat him. But I feel great.”
Stonie had defeated Chestnut in the past year in competitions featuring Twinkies, poutine, pumpkin pie and gyros.
Chestnut, smiling in defeat, said he was slow and couldn’t catch Stonie.
“I’ve been looking for competition for a long time and I finally have it,” he said, vowing to return next year. “He made me hungry.”
Chestnut, 31, had built himself into a champ with his string of victories, which included setting the record in 2013 by swallowing 69 franks. He twice reached 68 but last year had fallen off to 61.
After his victory last year, he dropped to one knee and proposed to his longtime girlfriend. They have since broken up.
Early in the contest, Chestnut seemed to have a slight edge but Stonie moved ahead after several minutes and seemed to be slowly extending his lead until the final bell.
The men’s contest came more than an hour after the women competed, with defending champion Miki Sudo capturing first place with a flourish that emphasized strategy rather than condiments.
Sudo, from Las Vegas, ate 38 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to claim the coveted title for the second straight year, along with the $10,000 that comes with it. She retained the coveted mustard yellow winner’s championship belt after downing four more wieners than last year and besting Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas of Alexandria, Virginia, who devoured 31 hot dogs.
Sudo employed a successful strategy of eating the hot dogs separately from the buns and swallowing the buns after first dipping them in Crystal Light.