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Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 5/30/12

On a rooftop bar in mid-town Manhattan, six-time champ Takeru Kobayashi downed a record 69 hot dogs to become the unofficial winner of this year's annual Nathan's hot dog eating competition--only problem was, he was seven miles west of the actual boardwalk event on Coney Island.

With the Empire State Building as a backdrop and a ten-foot high TV screen broadcasting the sanctioned Nathan's Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Competition in real-time on ESPN , Kobayashi went up against the competitors on the big screen and demolished the rest of the field over the air waves.

You know the new saying: If you can't beat 'em face-to-face, join 'em via a television simulcast.


Four-time defending champ, Joey Chestnut, ate 62 hot dogs today and won the authentic competition from the Nathan's at Surf and Stillwell Avenues in Brooklyn, but it was Kobayashi who broke Chestnut's two-year old record of 68 and ate more hot dogs on this Fourth of July.

About 500 Kobayashi supporters crowded the 230 Fifth Avenue rooftop bar and braved overcast skies and dehydration as they cheered for their exiled competitive eating champion.

Kobayashi says he is banned from the Nathan's event due to a two year old contract dispute with Major League Eating which oversees the Nathan's annual event. A clause in the contract stipulates Kobayashi cannot appear in certain eating competitions and the league would control his endorsements.

Last year in protest, Kobayashi was arrested at the Nathan's event after he climbed over a barrier and stormed the stage of the Nathan's contest. He spent time in a New York City jail.

230 Fifth's owner, Steven Greenberg, said he approached Kobayashi with the simulcast idea after seeing Kobayashi's arrest last year.

"He [Kobayashi] is a cross between an athlete and a performer," said Greenberg. "It's entertainment."

Greenberg said Kobayashi was paid for his hot dog eating appearance but said it wasn't an endorsement or promotional fee and wouldn't disclose the amount.

Today, Kobayashi stood alone on a stage with a table, which was measured to an exact height, two members of the New York State Athletic Commission--former-boxers Tyrone "The Harlem Butcher" Jackson and Brian Adams-- who acted as judges.

There was a timer on the table along with five large cups of water and a person to count the hot dogs devoured and flip a tally card. The huge TV screen to Kobayashi's right dwarfed the smallish eater with a huge appetite. He never looked at the screen even once.

The pro-Kobayashi crowd cheered loudly as he jumped to any early lead over Chestnut. It was 36-27 at about the half-way mark and the Japanese eater never slowed down before crushing Chestnut. Sixty-nine barkers later, Kobayshi held the unofficial title once again.

There was some concern at the end of the contest when some credentialed "spies" for Nathan's said there was confusion and a miscount. The discretion was cleared up when the flipper/counter explained that they didn't only count hot dogs individually eaten, but also by the tray. Each tray held five hot dogs and there was four left. It was a two-step counting system.

After sixty-nine hot dogs and 18 pounds of additional weight, Kobayashi, sporting a blond-streaked mane, leaped to the table after the record was announced. He shook his fist in triumph and pulled up his tee-shirt, which read "Kobi Unleashed" and puffed out his belly.

"I'm so happy to break the record in front of everyone," he beamed.

Asked if it was harder to compete with no one standing next to him Kobayashi said through a translator, "I compete for myself, I was battling myself today."

In the past, MLE president Richard Shea said the league wouldn't recognize Kobayashi's achievement if he wins. "It's a farce," said Shea. "He's not banned, he's just mad he lost three years in a row."

Kobayashi claims he has no hard feelings for the MLE. He just doesn't want to sign a contract that restricts him.

Kobayashi may not lay claim to Nathan's "Mustard Yellow Belt" like Chestnut, but he did break his record in public.

I don't know if simulcasting competitions from different venues to the same event is feasible or a wave of the future, but in this case it could set up the match-up everyone wants, Pacquaio vs. Mayweather...I mean Kobayashi vs. Chestnut.

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36 Comments:
  • No Kobyashi didn't win. He wasnt there, so as far as anyone should be concerned, he didnt win. Irregardless if he was in trouble with the Nathans people.
  • Irregardless? REALLY?! you probably also think it's ok to use 'truthishly' in your vocabulary
  • supposebly
  • Silly, it's spelled supposeably. LOL...
  • Supposedly
  • Hahahahahahaha
  • must be skrate off da skreets... we in da sahara yo!
  • No Kobyashi did not win, He signed on as a Pro and therefore cannot compete in a strictly amature event. He needs to shut up about it, plain and simple. Secondly this is a disgusting event and who the hell cares how many hotdogs someone can stuff down their throat. I can only imagine the Cholesterol levels after eating that much processed meat. Personally I enjoy a nice hotdog once in awhile, but these guys make me want to never eat one again. Remember that old saying that if you ever saw them being made you wouldn't want to eat one. Well watching these people makes me not to want one that's for sure.
  • Then why did you watch it?
  • Being that it was simulcast on television I have to say Kobayashi is the true champion. He also holds the world record. Who cares what Shea and MLE has to say.
  • Kobyashi obliterated a second-place outstanding performance by Mr. Chestnut. All the "BS" about "pro/amateur" and the fact that Kobyashi and Chestnut did not compete at the same location are totally meaningless. Kobyashi IS the True Champion. period.
  • Kobayashi is a media monger who doesn't have the integrity to compete on an official level playing field so he attempts to drum up media attention by these cheap shots at attracting attention to his perpetual adolescent self. The only thing he is champion of, is making a fool out of himself. He dishonors his country, his family, and his ancestors with such childish behaviors.
  • "integrity"? "cheap shots"? "childish"? I admire a man who refuses to cave in to big money, and is showing MLE up by fighting their "contract or get out and stay out" attitude. He's showing who is the real champion, and Chestnut must know in his heart that he...was...Beaten, by "the better man", on that particular day.
  • "Kobayashi says he is banned from the Nathan's event due to a two year old contract dispute with Major League Eating which oversees the Nathan's annual event. A clause in the contract stipulates Kobayashi cannot appear in certain eating competitions and the league would control his endorsements."

    He is refusing the contract so he can GO for the BIG MONEY...by showing up to any event that will pay him and be endorsed by whoever he wants.

    Just another punk who thinks he is bigger than his sport.
  • The only person that competes for MLE and makes money is Joey Chestnut, that's why he always finishes leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the competition. The legit competitors won't sign on with MLE, so it winds up being a bunch of local longshoremen vs. Chestnut.

    Kobayashi is in a boat with a LOT of other people that want to be able to compete at any eating contest they deem fit. If you check youtube you can find dozens of other legitimate competitive eaters that compete in events across the nation. The fact that the folks at MLE/ Nathan's are saying that unless it has their logo on the contest (essentially saying, unless some local place pays us to put on the event) then it doesn't count is as silly as saying that competitive eating . It's eating for pete's sake, if you eat fastest, you are the best.
  • When all is said and done, Kobyashi is and remains the champ. MLE is a sham! Now why would anyone want to sign a contract to eat hotdogs? It's for fun damn it. Next they will be at every backyard event. Anybody that doesn't like interference of government, should be up in arms over this crap. Hurray for Kobyashi!
  • I love Kobayashi and think it's incredible that someone so small can pack away so much. I don't really think it's healthy and agree with a previous poster about the cholesterol but someone that thin obviously doesn't have to worry about it just yet. That said, I think there WAS some miscount. They state specifically that there was a dual count: each individual hot dog and also number of trays of dogs consumed. It stated each tray had 5 dogs the last tray still had 4 left. They don't say how many trays in the official count, but unless he was on the 15th tray and he had an uneaten hot dog in each hand at the buzzer, there is no way that four left over on a tray would equal a count of 69. I'm gonna have to google and see if they have his on youtube somewhere....

    Gambatte Kobayashi-san!!!!! Ichiban!!!!
  • 69/5 = 13, remainder of 4. So he ate thirteen trays and the last had four. It adds up.
  • 13 * 5 = 6, add one more from the last tray and he ate 66.
  • oops. 13 * 5 = 65...
  • 69/5 is 13.4 but that is wrong. If there is 4 left on tray 14,
    it is 13.2x5 Consumed 66 hotdogs. Thank you
  • 13x5=65 So no it does not add up.
  • I wanna look at sexy spandex volleyball bottoms!!
  • Kobayashi defeated Chestnut. MLE is a joke, Shea needs to stop the childish immature attitude. Kobayashi did not want to be someone's drone and we need more of that attitude in this country. As far as Chestnut, he's good I have nothing against him. I'll let them compete with no contracts. If I was Chestnut, I would meet Kobayashi to battle it out, Screw all the agents and endorsement deals, this is a battle of the hot dogs.

    Why not Chestnut come to Japan and battle with Kobayashi, that would be a battle of the empty stomachs.

    As for the 2nd Childhood haters, eating contest is as old as Ancient Africa.
  • Isn't it sad that an event as simple and as traditional as a hot dog eating contest can become so commercialized as to cause such anomosity, taking all the fun out of the event. I mean, come on, you have be a member of "Major League Eating" to participate. Where is the freedom in a free market system that requires "contract(s)" and "endorsements" to such a trivial event...?
  • Oh, did I mention our granddaughter won a "Cutest Baby Contest"? She's been signed to a photo-op by a very well-known baby food company. Of course, all the proceeds will go into a trust-fund she can't touch until she's twenty-one (21) blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.... Get the point???
  • Whats next? Are we going to let someone throw toughdowns via webcam, and let the points count? Not at the event, can't win.
  • No, he didn't win anything. Can you win the Boston Marathon by running a course elsewhere? Doesn't count.
  • signs your empire is crumbling -

    angry huns and visogoths are at the city gates
    your next battle is at a place called waterloo
    the russians are approaching rapidly from the east
    people actually follow a professional eating league
  • without a doubt a miscount! trays of 5 with 4 left over CANNOT add up to 69.
  • Whoever won, these are the most amazing people in then world. I'm a large guy, and I ate 2 hot dogs & a burger w/ some tater salad yesterday, & I was too full to eat any pie & ice cream afterwards. Instead I laid around all day, yawning & watching baseball on TV. These men give me inspiration to reach within myself to try harder. This Labor Day, with my family's support, I pledge to eat at least 6 hot dogs before retiring to the couch - and I'm going to choke down my dessert even if it kills me. Thank God we live in a country where a man can strive to reach his full potential, no matter his walk of life.
  • YES...He beat the record, who cares if its official or not....anyone who has ever followed this so called "sport" knows that Chestnut will always be 2nd to Kobayashi..Kobayashi stands alone in the sport of competive eating and after reading the stipulations of his contract I dont blame him for not signing it...He makes more money through promotional fees than he does winning these contests!n Regardless if they claim him or not, hes the man to beat!
  • It's all just a publicity stunt just like the MLE all together. It wouldn't matter how many Chestnut ate, Kobayashi would of still "ate" more.

    Only David Blaine is silly enough to have his own publicity stunt and lose. =)
  • Just curious about the 5th paragraph: "About 500 Kobayashi supporters crowded the 230 Fifth Avenue rooftop bar and braved overcast skies and dehydration..."
    Wait a minute ! How did the spectators face dehydration AT A BAR ??? Weird. Unless the writer of the piece [and there's no byline] made an error, he's actually reporting that the spectators at an event held in a bar were challenged with dehydration. What ? They were banned from ordering drinks ?
    A little clarification, please. Did the writer mean that Kobayshi was challenged with dehydration?
    Why would spectators face dehydration at an eating contest that took ten minutes ? Were they locked in an attic for a couple of days before the event ?
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