2005_07_kobayashi5.jpgWhen most people see forty nine hot dogs, it's usually behind the counter at Gray's Papaya. But at Coney Island yesterday, it was the gold standard, as the reigning world hot dog eating champion, Takeru Kobayashi, won his fifth consecutive hot dog eating belt at Nathan's, eating forty nine hot dogs in twelve minutes. And Gothamist thought our acid reflux this weekend was bad! The 27 year-old Kobayashi didn't beat his world record of 53.5 hot dogs, set last year, and admitted that he showed up some more muscle (check out those guns!) which may have hurt him. Dude, but still, the second place finisher was Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the slender cheesecake eating champ, who downed 37 hot dogs. The Post reports that Kobayashi "struggled throughout the first half of the contest — until a prodigious belch at the 7-minute mark got him back on track. He then started stuffing hot dogs in his mouth three at a time, a new technique dubbed 'The Three Way.'" Where's our Zantac?

More photographs from Katie Dickinson on Flickr - and did you head to Coney Island for the festivities? And if you can't get enough of competitive eating, the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating will be shown on ESPN, July 28-30. Recent features on NYC competitive eaters, including 7 train conductor Eric "Badlands" Booker, from the NY Times and New York magazine. And Gothamist's interview with competitive eater, Crazy Legs Conti.

Photograph from the AP