Annual Hot Dog Eating Competition Celebrates Proud American Tradition of Overeating

Today, competitive eaters and heartburn enthusiasts competed in Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog-Eating Contest, a tradition that has been going strong since 1916.

There were over 40,000 spectators at Coney Island, even though the act of watching people drench hot dogs in water and mush them into their mouthholes is totally horrifying. Nevertheless, they were lucky enough to see a world record broken: Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas ate 45 hot dogs in 10 minutes, breaking her record of 41 hot dogs in 2009.

Thomas is a mere 100 pounds, and she also holds the competitive eating titles in oysters, crawfish, clams, chicken wings, and turkey. She wanted to eat 45 hot dogs to match her age.

On the male side, Joey "Jaws" Chestnut devoured a freakish 68 hot dogs — but that's exactly as many as he ate the last time he broke the world record. What a disappointment. Nevertheless, Chestnut is optimistic about his future.

I came here hoping I could do 70, but I am happy with 68. It is a world record after all and I will be back next year to see if I can go one better ... I pushed my body to the absolute limit. I know I did my best. Now I really need a drink to try and rehydrate.

And hey, he's only 28. Something tells me this kid has a bright future of inhaling meat products ahead of him.

[Image via Flickr/helloturkeytoe]