Joey Chestnut continued his reign as the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion on Friday, eating 61 hot dogs to take his eighth belt.
The win was one of the closer ones for Chestnut, who battled Matt Stonie closely throughout the competition. Chestnut jumped out to an early lead, with Stonie and Tim Janus closely trailing behind for the first few minutes.
Stonie took the lead with about six minutes remaining and the two battled and traded the lead for the next five minutes. With 1:13 left, the two were tied at 53 hot dogs apiece. But Chestnut retook the lead, going up 57-54 with 47 seconds to go and didn’t relinquish it for the rest of the contest. Stonie finished with 56 hot dogs.
“I could never find my rhythm so it was just a dogfight the whole time,” Chestnut said.
The win came about 90 minutes after the competitive eating champion proposed to his longtime girlfriend Neslie Ricasa on stage. She said yes.
Slightly rainy conditions made it more difficult for competitors including Chestnut, who fell short of his 69 hot dogs consumed in 2013.
On the women’s side, three-time champion Sonya Thomas was upset by Miki Sudo.