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Mustard Belt Triumphantly Returns to American Soil

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Jul 5, 2007 2:00PM


On a day when Americans came together to celebrate the gloriousness that is the USA, we found another reason to cheer; American Joey Chestnut won Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, unseating six-time defending champion (and Japanese native) Takeru Kobayashi. 2007_07_chestnutwins2.jpgThough those two were the certainly the stories of the day, we can't help but proudly mention Chicago native Patrick Bertoletti (pictured) came in a respectable third place. Bertoletti already has the title for eating 19 slices of pizza in 10 minutes last year, and he owns the record for eating 5.75 pounds of corned beef and cabbage.

Our friends in New York live-blogged the thrilling event as it went down. Chestnut started out at a blistering paste, with Kobayashi keeping up just behind him. Though Bertoletti started off strong, there was no way he was going to be a serious contender in the 2007 contest. In the last minute, Kobayashi had a "reversal of fortune," a euphemistic phrase that requires an automatic DQ. Though it was unclear what the outcome would be since the reversal (or "Roman Method") came in the very last seconds of the competition and he managed to eat everything that had been in his mouth (ew!), San Jose, CA college student Joey Chestnut won out. He set a new world record with 66 dogs eaten; Kobayashi ate 63, and Bertoletti dug deep to get down 49. Bertoletti's intake would have won him the competition in 2005.

"If I needed to eat another one right now, I could," Chestnut said after winning the coveted mustard yellow belt.

Image of Bertoletti via the International Federation of Competitive Eating.