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Kobayashi Claims Hot Dog Record, Chicago's Pat Bertoletti Challenges Joey Chestnut

Takeru Kobayashi, the competitive eater who doesn’t participate in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest because of a contract dispute with Major League Eating, instead participated in his own competition this Fourth of July — and the organizers claim he set a world record.

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Kobayashi ate 69 hot dogs on the rooftop of a Manhattan bar, breaking the world record of 68 held by Joey Chestnut. But it remains to be seen whether competitive eating fans around the world will accept Kobayashi’s accomplishment at an unsanctioned event as an official world record.

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Chestnut, meanwhile, did what he was widely expected to do: He went to Coney Island and defended his title. Chestnut downed 62 dogs, six off his own record, but still enough to win the Nathan’s event comfortably. Chestnut has now won the event five times in a row.

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But while everyone knew Chestnut would win, the real surprise came from Chicago’s own Pat Bertoletti, who finished in second place by eating 53 dogs. It was a very impressive showing by Bertoletti, who could use his Independence Day showing as a springboard to stardom in competitive eating. He might just be the man to challenge both Kobayashi and Chestnut for hot dog-eating supremacy.

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In third place on Coney Island was Tim “Eater X” Janus, who ate 45 dogs. Bob Shoudt came in fourth with 39 dogs, while Matt Stonie and Sean Gordon tied for fifth with 34.

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Chestnut said afterward that he felt good about what he had done, even if he wished he could have broken his world record.

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“I might be hitting the Pepto Bismol later, but I feel great. The weather didn’t affect me much, but I didn’t start as fast as I wanted,” Chestnut said. “I always go for a record. I always want to put up a record that no one can touch.”