Yesterday's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest had a lot to live up to after last year's heavily-hyped and record-breaking victory that saw Joey Chestnut bring the Mustard Belt back to America by snapping the six-year victory streak of legend Takeru Kobayashi. How did they manage to top it? Overtime!
After the two giants of competitive eating ended regulation in a dead heat at 59 franks a piece, Nathan's officials scrambled and decided to hold a sudden death overtime. There Joey Chestnut eked out a successful defense of his belt by being the first to finish five more dogs. Chestnut told reporters, "I don't know how I did it. This is amazing. I dug down deep inside and just found a way to pull it out."
Kobayashi, who promised to be back next year, never even considered the possibility of overtime, "I was only thinking about the 10-minute regulation. I never prepared for an overtime. It never entered my mind. If I had only put one more mouthful of bun, I would have won." But George Shea, the funnyman MC and chairman of Major League Eating, summed up the dramatic victory afterwards, "Without any question, the Chestnut era has begun." (Check out our live blogging coverage from yesterday here.)