Two Winners, Controversy in Coney Island Contest - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Two Winners, Controversy in Coney Island Contest

There were two champions at this year's Nathan's July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Contest: a man and woman.

Still, the day wasn't without a bit of controversy. One former champion staged his own contest to rival the big event.

It's a fourth of July tradition; who can eat the most hot dogs and buns in ten minutes at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest?

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut downed 62 hot dogs - chewing his way to the top for the
fifth time in a row.

And for the first time ever, Nathan's held a separate men's and women's event.

100-pound Sonya Thomas stuffed down 40 hot dogs and buns to win the inaugural women's competition.

She's known in the competitive eating world as the "Black Widow," and Thomas took part in
the contest when it was co-ed, but she supports the change.

"If I compete with the men its not fair, don't ya think?" asked Thomas.

One of the greatest hot dog champions, Takeru Kobiyashi, did not compete this year beacause of a reported contract dispute with the organizers.

But a few spectators think something else is keeping him away.

"I think he is hiding," said spectator Carmine Capparelli. "I think he is scared."

"I think he is afraid to lose," said Ed Kobilis. "I think he knows Chestnut has his number right now.

Kobayashi held his own contest from a rooftop in Manhattan.

"You know it was his choice not to be here," said Chestnut.  "He could have signed the same contract he did for years.  It is sad that he thinks he is Kobe Bryant.  This is competitive eating; it is supposed to be fun. "

Kobayashi 's team claims he ate 69 dogs at the unofficial event.

Organizers say this competition is evolving and they will continue to have a men's and women's event so the female eaters get the attention they deserve.

Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas will share the $20,000 prize.

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