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Chestnut still supreme

By gob-stuffing hack Ignatius Rake

Posted June 26, 2012
Superhero: Joey Chestnut (seen here in 2009) still tops the MLE rankings. (Check bottom for credit)

With the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest fast approaching, Major League Eating (MLE) has just issued its updated gurgitator rankings.

In the new rankings, the number one spot remains the preserve of über eater and total flipping superhero Joey 'the Jaws' Chestnut, the man who, among countless other feats of superhuman gullet activation, set a new world record when he ate 68 hot dogs in just 10 minutes at the 2009 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Patrick 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti, with his distinctive Travis Bickle haircut, weighs in at number two followed by world record belch setter Tim 'Eater X' Janus.

Meanwhile, the Rake & Herald's own particular favourite Sonya 'the Black Widow' Thomas holds fourth place ahead of Bob Shoudt at five.

In terms of other top gurgitators that we have a particular liking for (no disrespect to the others, mind), Juliet Lee comes in at 9th; rap sensation Eric Booker 15th; Crazy Legs Conti, who famously ate his way out of the pop corn sarcophagus back in May 2004, 17th; kilt-wearing Eric 'Steakbellie' Livingstone 24th; and Meredith Boxberger 31st.

Unfortunately, we never made a note of how the rankings previously stood so the only thing we can say for sure is that Chestnut continues to hold his perch at the top of the (chestnut) tree.

In fact, we're pretty sure (but not certain enough to state) that the Top 5 hasn't actually changed or at least hasn't changed very much.

Or maybe it has.


To avoid being caught with our pants down in future, though, we've listed the current Top 50 at the bottom of this report.

After all, with the 2012 Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, Noi Yoik just days away, things could yet change again.

However, our money's still on Chestnut winning his sixth straight title in a row despite stiff competition from Deep Dish and Eater X in particular, who will no doubt both be doing their damnedest to beat the Jaws' 68 hot dog record.

This year's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest will be televised on ESPN for the ninth year running following an agreement announced this past May with MLE and Nathan's Famous granting the Disney/Hearst-owned sports channel a five-year contract extension to exclusively televise the world's greatest sporting event each year until 2017.

Having last year pulled in a record 1.95m live viewers (and nearly 9m total viewers), the chow-down of the multiverse will this year follow the Wimbledon men's tennis quarter-finals, whatever they are.

According to an MLE press release, the one-hour TV spectacular will commence at 15.00 ET this coming July 4, surprisingly enough, and "will include in-depth analysis of the eating competition by motorsports broadcaster Paul Page and MLE's Richard Shea, with reporting by television host Renee Herlocker".

It will also include coverage of the Nathan's Famous Female Hot Dog Eating Championship, which in its first staging last year was won by Rake & Herald official heroine and "100-pound eating phenomenon" Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas when she wolfed down 40 dogs and buns with no reversal.

Once again, boater-wearing MLE chairman George Shea will compère the stage show in his own fantastic style.

"This telecast has always been a huge success for ESPN and so we are thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with MLE and Nathan's Famous serving fans this annual holiday treat," says Jason Bernstein, ESPN's senior director of programming and acquisitions.

"We've never had a bigger appetite for this annual world championship event," he adds.

"The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest," states MLE's David Baer, "has become a critical part of the July 4 holiday in America and beyond."

"It is an honour for MLE and Nathan's Famous to be associated with ESPN and the quality programming it produces."

Set to attract more than 25 top eating athletes from across the globe, the pinnacle of the guzzling year will take place at the corner of Surf and Stillwell near Coney Island's historic boardwalk.

However, if you can't be there in person, the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest will be shown live on ESPN3 and streamed over the interweb via WatchESPN (although you might have to download and install some kind of player jobbie first).

It will also re-air at 16.00 ET and 22.00 ET on ESPN2.

Or something.


We have just learnt that the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest will this year revert to its usual 12.00 ET start, so the times mentioned above are probably now all bollocks and not fit to wipe your arse on. Sorry.

For posterity and your perusal, here are the official MLE rankings as of 25/6/12:

1) Joey Chestnut

2) Patrick Bertoletti

3) Tim Janus

4) Sonya Thomas

5) Bob Shoudt

6) Matt Stonie

7) Adrian Morgan

8) Aaron Osthoff

9) Juliet Lee

10) Gravy Brown

11) Erik the Red Denmark

12) Sean Gordon

13) Micah Collins

14) Pete Davekos

15) Eric Booker

16) Kevin Strahle

17) Crazy Legs Conti

18) Jim Reeves (not the late singer, although that would be pretty impresssive)

19) Michelle Lesco

20) Brian Dudzinski

21) Brian Subich

22) Yasir Salem

23) Allen Goldstein

24) Eric Livingston

25) Nathan Biller

26) Juan Rodriguez

27) Ron Koch

28) Marcos Owens

29) Maria Edible

30) Larell Marie Mele

31) Meredith Boxberger

32) Bryan Beard

33) Benjamin Taylor

34) Dax Swanson

35) Kobi Bauer

36) Gary Klucken

37) Jake Larry

38) Jon Bello

39) William Myers

40) Nick Bauer

41) Andrew Kogutkiewicz

42) Mike Landrich

43) Brian Seiken

44) Damien Boykin

45) Bam Martinez

46) Randy Harrison

47) Paul Barlow

48) Steve Martin

49) Matthew Raible

50) Bruce Ollis

To read the official MLE biogs of these alimentary athletes (and believe me, there really are worth reading), click on this link here.

N.B. Living legend and former MLE number one Takeru Kobayashi does not appear in the rankings as he is no longer an MLE eater due to some kind of contractual reason or something that we don't even pretend or want to understand.

Picture credits

Top and thumb: Joey Chestnut by Ethan from Manhattan.

For licensing information click the above link.

See also Finally a reason for the iPhone, posted 14/6/12.

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