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Chestnut sets record; out-chomps Kobayashi

At two separate eating contests in Coney Island last week, it was the best of times — and the worst of times — for the human race.

At Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, the 25-year-old Californian Joey Chestnut did humankind proud, setting a new world record by devouring an astonishing 68 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes. With his third consecutive victory, Chestnut dashed the hopes of Japan’s Takeru Kobayashi, who finished second with 64.5 hotdogs and buns. Patrick Bertoletti finished a strong third with 55 dogs and buns.

“Right now, he is unbeatable,” said George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating, the governing body of competitive eating. He credited Chestnut’s victory to training, sheer will — and an abnormally large esophagus. “It was beautiful to watch,” Shea observed.

For the win, Chestnut took home $20,000, and the coveted Mustard Yellow Belt, the envy of professional eaters across the globe.

On July 3, things went less well for our species.

Three Asian elephants named Bunny, Susie and Minnie stampeded over Juliet Lee, Gravy Brown and Bertoletti in a six-minute hot dog bun eating contest sponsored by Major League Eating and Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey. The elephants consumed 505 buns to the humans comparatively paltry 143.

While the humans tore into the starchy feast, the beasts took a more lackadaisical approach, Shea said. “I thought there was an arrogance on their behalf,” he charged. “I felt that they were patronizing us.”

Combined, the elephants weighed a collective nine tons, while the humans tipped the scales just under 500 pounds, organizers said.

Despite the devastating loss, the future might be looking up for the bipedal set.

A source close to the matter told this paper that discussions are underway for a television show “in which Joey Chestnut will be competing against a bear,” the person said. Negotiations are said to be ongoing, the person said. The event would not be in Brooklyn, the source added.

But if history is any guide, Chestnut might be getting in over his gullet. Back in 2003, Kobayashi attempted to out-eat a 1,089-pound Kodiak bear. The massive beast consumed 50 bunless hot dogs in 2 minutes 26 seconds to Kobayashi’s 31.

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