Takeru Kobayashi, the former owner of the of the coveted Mustard Belt from 2001-2206, held by the winner of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest (which takes place every July 4th on Coney Island), has decided to end his career. Apparently this is due to an agreement, or lack-there-of, between Kobayashi and the Major League Eating (MLE). It seems they want exclusive rights on when and where their eaters compete and Takeru is not kosher with that.
I’ve watched him compete every year at Coney Island and I love rooting for him. Recently he’s been loosing to the current champ, and American, Joey Chestnut. Joey has won the last 3 years and holds the current record of 68 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. Another MLE member, Bob Shoudt, speculated that Kobayashi left the competition in fear of coming in third place for the first time, behind himself in first and Chestnut in second.
Either way, and whatever happens in the long run, he is a much respected competitive eater and it’s sad to see him leaving. Some of his current records are:
- Brats: 58 Johnsonville Brats / Brat Days / 10 Minutes/ Aug. 5, 2006
- Cow Brains: 57 (17.7 pounds) / 15 minutes
- Lobster Rolls: 41 Lobster Rolls in Boston challenge / 10 minutes/Sept. 23, 2006
- Rice Balls: 20 pounds rice balls / 30 minutes