NEW YORK – Defending champion Miki Sudo won the women’s division of the annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest at Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island.
The Las Vegas woman capturing first place with a flourish that emphasized strategy rather than condiments.
Sudo ate 38 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes to claim the title for the second straight year, along with the $10,000 that comes with it.
She downed four more wieners than last year and bested Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas of Alexandria, Virginia, who devoured 31 hot dogs.
Sudo employed a successful strategy of eating the hot dogs separately from the buns and swallowing the buns after first dipping them in Crystal Light, a low-calorie powdered beverage.
Born in New York, Sudo lived in Japan from age 4 to 12, according to media reports. It was here — where it is considered extremely rude to leave food on your plate — that she first learned to devour what was set before her.
In the men’s competition, Matt Stonie shocked the competitive eating world by upsetting Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, breaking Chestnut’s bid for a ninth straight victory.
Stonie, 23, who finished second last year, downed 62 hot dogs and buns, beating Chestnut by two. Both are from San Jose, California.
As thousands of spectators observed the eaters on an elevated stage, the next-closest competitor ate 35 hot dogs.
“I trained hard for this. This is actually amazing,” Stonie told ESPN, which broadcast the competition live like the major sporting event its biggest fans say it has become.
Afterward, Stonie, holding his fist in the air in victory, said he came into the competition confident and prepared in his quest for the $10,000 prize and the coveted mustard yellow winner’s championship belt.
“We don’t just go up there and eat hot dogs. We practice for this. We prepare our bodies,” Stonie said. “It was a tough contest. Joey brings it all. I had to push really hard to beat him. But I feel great.”
Stonie had defeated Chestnut in the past year in competitions featuring Twinkies, poutine, pumpkin pie and gyros.
Chestnut, smiling in defeat, said he was slow and couldn’t catch Stonie, who entered the match weighing just 125 pounds (57 kilograms) to Chestnut’s 230 pounds (104 kilograms).
“I’ve been looking for competition for a long time and I finally have it,” he said, vowing to return next year. “He made me hungry.”
Chestnut, 31, had built himself into a champ with his string of victories, which included setting the record in 2013 by swallowing 69 franks. He twice reached 68 but last year had fallen off to 61.
Early in the contest, Chestnut seemed to have a slight edge but Stonie moved ahead by half a hot dog after three minutes and never looked back.