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Chestnut retains hot dog title despite rival's unofficial record

By Leigh Remizowski, CNN
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Chestnut still the champ
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Joey Chestnut wins Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, eating 62 hot dogs and buns
  • Takeru Kobayashi beats Chestnut's world record at a separate event
  • Major League Eating will not recognize Kobayashi's feat as a record
  • Sonya Thomas wins the women's competition, eating 40 hot dogs and buns
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New York (CNN) -- Competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut proved himself the official top dog of the hot dog-eating world when he ate 62 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Monday, but his archnemesis Takeru Kobayashi crushed Chestnut's world record at an off-site event where he pounded down 69 hot dogs and buns.

For the fifth year in a row, Chestnut beat the 17-man field at the 96th annual Major League Eating event at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

Kobayashi, who has been banned from the contest due to a contract dispute with Major League Eating, competed from afar: on the roof of a Manhattan bar, in unison with Chestnut and his fellow competitors.

Kobayashi polished off 69 hot dogs and buns to the tune of a crowd chanting "Kobi! Kobi!" and the official Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest playing on a television beside him. He beat Chestnut's 2009 world record of 68 hot dogs and buns.

But Chestnut brushed off the feat since Kobayashi was miles away from the cheering crowds in Brooklyn.

"It wasn't a competition," he said.

"It was no different than what I do at practice on my own and I'm able to break a record at my house," Chestnut added.

Event organizers agree, arguing that the record is not official if it's not broken at Coney Island.

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"I don't know if it was a magic show or an eating contest," said Richard Shea, president of Major League Eating. "Not having been there, it seems like a bit of a farce. The hot dog eating contest is on Coney Island."

Major League Eating will not recognize Kobayashi's 69 hot dogs as a new world record, Shea said.

Kobayashi, who gained 18 pounds during the contest, said his makeshift competition was to remind the world "that I'm still good, that I'm still in the contest," he said through an interpreter.

"During practice, I had already broken the record, so I had enough confidence that I could beat that," he added.

Kobayashi took home six consecutive Nathan's contest titles from 2001 to 2006. Last year, he was arrested after rushing the stage at the Coney Island event.

But Chestnut remains the official champion, and he will share his official title with Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, who devoured 40 hot dogs and buns to beat eight other eaters in the first women's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Thomas missed her own personal record by just one hot dog.

Event organizers split the contest into female and male competitions this year to give the ever-expanding female field of competitors a chance at the big prize.

Both Chestnut and Thomas were awarded $10,000. Chestnut took home the contest's signature Mustard belt -- a yellow championship belt -- while Thomas was the first recipient of a pink belt, meant to promote event sponsor Pepto Bismol.

 
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