America the Beautiful. Home of hot dogs, competitive eating and as of last weekend, the "chew view" camera.
During Saturday's International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) Nathan's International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Championship in Coney Island, home state favorite Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won the Mustard Belt for the third year in a row.
But the real winner was the viewer. Even on my old 20-inch T.V., the new Chew View cam perched not far from contestants' mouths captured every detail.
The play-by-play went down like this. Chestnut, a 25-year-old student from San Jose, downed 68 hot dogs--or about 20,000 calories--in the 10 minute allotted time frame.
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Chestnut finished a full 3 ½ dogs ahead of his arch rival, 31-year-old Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi. The 6-time hot dog champion and former heavyweight eating favorite from Japan seems to have finally met his match in Chestnut (although there was that rather embarrassing Kodiak bear incident on Man vs. Beast in 2003.
Chestnut credits a rigorous training program of overeating, running and fasting for bringing home his third gold. Up next is the World Rib Eating Championship in Lincoln City, Oregon, where he'll be defending his smoked swine title.
If you're thinking about trying out the competitive eating circuit, it's probably a good idea to down local hot dogs with names like the Ripper, a fried-till-it-bursts dog from Top Dog in Reseda, with caution. Ten, maybe twelve, max.