Will Japanese Hotdog Champ Stomach Defeat?

Here's a look at the rest of the rivals who'll be at the hot dog table with Kobayashi. All are seasoned veterans of competitive eating. Pray they won't be coming to your July Fourth barbecue:

Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas -- The world's top female eater has set records in hard-boiled eggs (65 in 6 minutes, 40 seconds), cheesecake (11 pounds in 9 minutes) chicken nuggets (80 in 5 minutes).

The 100-pound McDonald's manager from Alexandria, Va., has proved that women and people of any weight can compete in eating contests. Thomas, 38, finished No.2 at Coney Island last year, eating 37 dogs (a world record for women).

But Thomas is a 21-to-1 long shot this year. She ate just 36.5 dogs at a Philadelphia Nathan's qualifier a few weeks ago, and many believe that she's hit her limit. Still, the Black Widow is a fierce competitor.

Eric "Badlands" Booker -- This New York subway conductor, tipping the scales at 425 pounds, is the biggest eater going for hot dog glory. He holds the world's record for matzo balls (25 in 5 minutes) and pumpkin pie. He's also distinguished himself as a rapper, with his debut album, "Hungry and Focused"

Kamil Hamersky -- No food is closer to the hot dog than the sausage, and Hamersky, a native of the Czech Republic, is the international Terno Sausage Champion, gobbling 25 in 3 minutes. It's unclear how the 35-year-old will handle meat coupled with a bun, however, and Hamersky has never competed in the United States.

Patrick Bertoletti -- You'd have to be suffering from brain freeze to discount Bertoletti, a 20-year-old culinary student from Chicago, who set the 12-minute ice-cream record in June, consuming 1.75 gallons of vanilla at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.

Crazy Legs Conti -- A 35-year-old independent filmmaker, Conti famously ate his way out of an 8-foot box of popcorn a few years ago to promote his film, "Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating."

Jed Donahue -- Sweet or spicy, it doesn't matter to Donahue, the 32-year-old former World Jalapeno Pepper Champ (152 in 15 minutes), who also races in glazed doughnuts (30.5 in 8 minutes).

Hall Hunt -- You don't have to be a genius to be a top-ranked competitive eater, but Hall Hunt is a member of Mensa, the society for people with exceptionally high IQs. He's a 24-year-old civil engineering student at the University of Florida, but this genius will have to figure out how to improve his average of 18.6 hot dogs if he's going to be taken seriously at Kobayashi's dinner table.

Robert Andersson -- The 31-year-old Scandinavian hot dog champ comes to the Coney Island competition for the first time. But by eating 32 dogs at a qualifying event, he's got a good shot of finishing in the top five.

Tim Janus -- The International Federation of Competitive Eating's 2004 Rookie of the Year has distinguished himself with desserts, setting records in tiramisu (4 pounds in 6 minutes) and shoofly pie (6 pounds in 8 minutes). He's a 29-year-old day trader from New York, who makes his own beef jerky.

Rich LeFevre -- The old man of the competitive eating circuit shouldn't be underestimated. This 62-year-old retired accountant from Nevada is the No. 5 ranked IFOCE competitor and fittingly holds the record in birthday cake (5 pounds in 11 minutes) as well as SPAM (6 pounds in 12 minutes).

Seaver Miller -- A first-time competitor from Ashburn, Va., Seaver "the Achiever" ate 20.25 hotdogs at a Pennsylvania qualifier.

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