Hot dog champ returning to Bay Area

July 5, 2008 4:12:34 PM PDT
The mother of a Bay Area man who on Friday retained his title as world hot dog-eating champion said her son went out for pizza on the night of his big win.

Vallejo resident Alicia Chestnut said her 24-year-old son Joey Chestnut didn't feel sick to his stomach after beating out hot dog-eating legend Takeru Kobayashi at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest for the second year in a row.

Chestnut ate 59 hot dogs in the 10-minute contest -- the same number as Kobayashi. But he was able to break the tie and edge out the Japanese former champ in a five-hot-dog eat-off to retain his Mustard Yellow Belt.

Although such frantic feasts don't make Chestnut ill, "It makes him really tired," his mother said.

The contest was held at Coney Island in New York, but Alicia Chestnut stayed home and watched it on ESPN, partly because she didn't want to rattle her son by being there.

However, two sisters, a brother and a cousin went along with him for the trip, she said.

Asked if she was proud of her son's eating accomplishments, Chestnut replied, "It makes me laugh. I don't think he takes it too serious, it's a hobby, just something he enjoys doing."

And the laughs are welcome, she added.

"When he started doing it, one of his older brothers was in Iraq," Chestnut said. "It's something to laugh about and talk about besides the one who was in a war zone."

"It's kind of goofy, it doesn't hurt anybody and it's kind of fun," she said. "It's kind of gross and it's over in 10 minutes."

Joey Chestnut is a civil engineering student at San Jose State University and works as a project manager for a San Carlos-based construction company, his mother said.

He often visits the family in Vallejo, where he grew up. "He's tight with his brothers," she said.

She said her son is flying back into the Bay Area tonight.


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