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Joey Chestnut triumphs, again, at Nathan's annual hot dog pig-out

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John Minchillo/AP

(Read caption) Joey Chestnut (c.) wins the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating contest with a total of 69 hot dogs and buns, alongside Tim Janus (l.) and Matt Stonie (r.) on Thursday at Coney Island, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

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You don’t want to mess with Joey “Jaws” Chestnut or Sonya "the Black Widow” Thomas.

Mr. Chestnut, of San Jose, Calif., devoured 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes to break two records at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest Thursday.

His bested his previous record of 68 hot dogs in 2009 and won the contest for the unprecedented seventh time in a row.

Sonya Thomas, a slim, 100-pound manager of a fast-food restaurant in Alexandria, Va., battled frank-for-frank with Juliet Lee in the women’s competition. Ms. Thomas, known as "the Black Widow” of competitive eating, downed 36-3/4 hot dogs to her competitor’s 36 hot dogs. (Read more about Sonya, "the Black Widow," in a Monitor feature article here.)

Second-place finisher in the men’s competition was Matt Stonie, who ate 51 hot dogs.

Chestnut said after the competition that he’s motivated by the prestige, not the $10,000 prize money. 

‘‘I'd do this for nothing,’’ he said.

Chestnut may have received a boost from his girlfriend, too, who stood in front of him and yelled at him to eat more, according to USA Today

Thomas won $5,000 for the women’s competition and defended her titles from 2012 and '11. Last year, she set the women’s record by gobbling 45 hot dogs.

“It’s more mental than physical,” Thomas said, before the event this year. ‘‘I have to fight with myself, so I'm going to try to really focus.”

Chestnut’s goal for the day was to “eat a little more gracefully, conserve my energy.’’

The competition, hosted by Nathan’s Hot Dogs in Coney Island, N.Y., every Fourth of July since 1916, attracted a crowd of about 40,000 spectators. It’s broadcast live on ESPN and open to anyone at least 18 years old who wins a qualifying competition held in 12 cities across the country between March and June.

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