Hot dog champ Joey Chestnut proposes to girlfriend before July 4 contest
Agence France-Presse in New York
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut ate his way to his eighth consecutive world hot dog eating title in New York.
But he took a moment before guzzling 61 dogs to propose to his girlfriend - who said "Yes".
Chestnut, 30, devoured fewer than last year, when he ate a world record 69. "I could never find my rhythm," he explained.
But he made sure the day was memorable, dropping to one knee on live television and before a crowd of 30,000 spectators and proposing to his girlfriend Neslie Ricasa, also a competitive eater.
Meanwhile, defending women's champion Sonya Thomas was dethroned by newcomer Miki Sudo, 28, who managed 34 hot dogs.
Thomas, 46, set the women's world record in 2012, when she ate 45 hot dogs. But during Friday's annual Fourth of July event, she could down only 27.
A total of 17 men and 13 women competed for this year's title in the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest at the Brooklyn resort of Coney Island.
The goal is to eat as many hot dogs as possible in 10 minutes.
Every contestant has their own tricks, but most soak the bread in water and then eat the meat separately.
Some jump up and down on the spot in a bid to help the food slide down. But anyone who vomits is disqualified.
Chestnut, of California, who walked away from the competition with US$10,000, has earned 31 world records, including in ice cream (15 pints of vanilla in six minutes), bratwurst sausages (70 in 10 minutes) and hard-boiled eggs (141 in eight minutes).