Japanese Goes Faster, ‘Furter in Hot Dog Contest
A 135-pound furniture delivery worker from Japan wolfed down 24 1/2 hot dogs in 12 minutes Friday to edge a 100-pound countryman and a 330-pound American and win the world hot dog eating contest.
Hirofumi Nakajima, 22, of Kiofu, Japan, broke his own world record and won the contest for a second year, defeating 22 challengers at Brooklyn’s Coney Island, a New York City amusement park known for its roller coaster and its hot dogs.
An eating contest has been held there every Fourth of July since 1916 as a publicity stunt for Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, which opened at the Atlantic Ocean park that year.
Nakajima won a large emerald and brass trophy, a Mustard-Yellow International Belt and a 20-pack take-out order for Nathan’s hot dogs. The champ said he was “very happy,” admitting that he had been worried when the American, Ed Krachie, 34, took the lead midway through the eat-off.
Krachie, however, said he felt like throwing up and slowed down, finishing third with 20 hot dogs. He is a two-time champ who holds the American record of 22 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
Second place went to Kazutoyo Arai, 30, of Saitama, Japan, who ate 24 hot dogs before time was called.
Nakajima said he was “going for a record from the very beginning” of the contest. “Concentration was the key” to winning, he said, adding that he was trying to concentrate on himself and not on the news media photographing the event.
“It’s not important to me but it would have been great to bring it home for America,” a disappointed Krachie said. “I’m getting too old for this.”
Nakijima has also won several eating contests in Japan, where he ate 15 bowls of noodle soup, 100 pieces of sushi, five plates of wheat noodles, five plates of beef over rice and five plates of curry over rice.
The National Hot Dog Council estimates Americans ate 88 million hot dogs at Independence Day picnics.