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69 Reasons to Love Independence Day, All of Them Hot Dogs

A story about the annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, won again this year by Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who ate a record 69 hot dogs.
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Actually, make that 70 reasons to love Independence Day. We can't forget Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, the all-American dawg who today devoured a personal best--and world record--69 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York. The total of 69, 18 more than the second-place finisher, earned Chestnut his seventh Nathan's title, also a record. (How many calories did Jaws consume? Answer)

An athlete at work

Now in its 98th year, the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest draws crowds of thousands and airs live on ESPN2. This year's gathering was especially significant as Coney Island and surrounding areas continue to rebuild after last October's devastating Hurricane Sandy. But with sunny skies and Jaws chomping and slobbering away at a record-setting pace, the mood was upbeat and celebratory--an Independence Day success story.

Screen shot from YouTube, ESPN2 coverage

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The thrill of victory

Afterward, Chestnut was quick to say that it wasn't the $10,000 prize that was important to him, but instead the prestige of earning another Mustard Belt. "I'd do this for nothing," he said.

In other words, U-S-A! U-S-A!