Japanese champ keeps hot-dog title
Kobayashi retains the coveted mustard-colored belt
CONEY ISLAND, New York (CNN) -- Japanese champion Takeru Kobayashi retained his title Thursday in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, downing 50-and-a-half hot dogs in 12 minutes. (More Fourth of July events around the country)
He bested his own 2001 world record of 50 dogs in 12 minutes.
"Feels good," he said.
Finishing second, Eric "Badlands" Booker of Copaigue, New York, who ate 26 hot dogs.
The 24-year-old Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan, led a field of contenders representing the United States, Canada, Germany and Thailand.
Kobayashi, who weighed in Wednesday at 113 pounds with the coveted mustard yellow belt, credits his success to months of training.
He was the odds-on favorite going into the race, and is to receive a trophy, a year's supply of Nathan's hot dogs and retain the mustard-yellow belt.
This was Nathan's Famous' 87th annual contest. It has been held at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues each year since 1916, when Nathan Handwerker took the advice of Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante and invested $300 to open his famous hot dog restaurant. (More notable events on the Fourth in the past)
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