By Lorenzo Ferrigno
NEW YORK (CNN) — Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, reigning king of the world’s most famous hot dog eating contest, may have had an extra boost of confidence Friday. With a hug and kiss, his girlfriend of three years accepted his marriage proposal.
On a rainy Independence Day at Brooklyn’s Coney Island, the San Jose, California, resident once again clinched the title at Nathan’s hot dog eating contest before hundreds of umbrella-toting spectators at the annual celebration of gluttony.
“It was just a dog fight the entire time,” he told ESPN, which broadcast the popular event.
Chestnut sloppily devoured 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes — edging his biggest competitor, Matthew Stonie, who placed second after swallowing 56 dogs.
Chestnut’s win at Nathan’s 98th annual International Hot Dog Eating Contest secured his title for the eighth consecutive year, but he was still a handful of wieners away from his world record 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes that he set last year.
“The hot dogs were slow today, the weather slowed everything down,” Chestnut told ESPN. “I could never find my rhythm.”
As reigning champ, Chestnut was paraded into the contest on the shoulders of fans on a chariot-like hot dog cart.
In the women’s competition, Miki Sudo won by inhaling 34 dogs to eclipse the former champ, Sonya “The Black Widow” Thomas.
The hot dog eating contest was divided into men’s and women’s competitions in 2011.
Contestants compete for prize money and Nathan’s Mustard Belt.
™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.