2012 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest category

Comparing the 2012 & 2013 Nathan’s fields

Here is a list of people who qualified for the 2013 Nathan’s finals comparing the rosters with the 2012 fields. There might be additional withdrawals or possible sponsors exemptions added.


  • Returning Champion: Joey Chestnut
  • 2012 Returning finalists: Tim Janus, Matt Stonie, Bob Shoudt, Adrian Morgan, Erik Denmark, Eric Booker, Pete Davekos, Yasir Salem
  • New qualifier winners for 2013: Juan Rodriguez, Pablo Martinez, Jeff Butler, Marcos Owens
  • 2012 Finalists who attempted to qualify in 2013: Crazy Legs Conti, Lee Vilinsky (not sure if he competed)
  • 2012 Finalists who did not attempt to qualify: Pat Bertoletti, Tim Brown, Sean Gordon, Micah Collins


  • Returning Champion: Sonya Thomas
  • 2012 Returning finalists: Juliet Lee, Michelle Lesco, Meredith Boxberger, Larell Marie Mele, Neslie Ricasa, Mary Bowers, Dee Martin
  • New qualifier winners for 2013, not sure if they will compete in finals: Christina Ginn, Prudence DiBenedetto, Terri Reeves
  • New qualifier winners for 2013, will not compete in finals: Miki Sudo, Molly Schuyler
  • Repeated as qualifier winner, did not compete in 2012 finals: Laura Riehman
  • 2012 Finalists who attempted to qualify in 2013: Nicole Anderson
  • 2012 Finalists who did not attempt to qualify: Maria “Edible”, Theresa Subich, Mia Davekos, Heather Osthoff, Janice Deragla, Molly Nemunatis

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg's appearance at the press conference promoting Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest after he endorsed a large soda ban was #5 in Vegetarian Star's list of worst vegetarian stories of 2012.

GQ Magazine competitive eating article available online

update Nov 1 NotoriousBob.net has a quote that did not appear in the article

update Oct 31 Some observations and links about the article follow:

  • Ronson asserts that the 1916 origin story for Nathan’s hot dog eating contest is “(almost certainly) untrue”, which Mortimer Matz, Nathan’s promoter of the 1970s and 80s confirmed in a 2010 NY Times interview. The claim that the first contest took place on July 4, 1972 is incorrect; a contest was held on Memorial Day weekend of that year and a competition took place in 1967 to honor the centennial of the hot dog.
  • 2009 is listed as the year of Takeru Kobayashi’s final IFOCE sanctioned contest. He competed against Joey Chestnut in a contest in Singapore in May 2010.
  • Emcee Dave Keating says that the cupcakes used in the shortened cupcake contest were lighter than those used in 2011, which explains why 7th place finishers Maria “Edible” and Michelle “Cardboard Shell” Lesco ate more in 6 minutes (48) than the previous year’s winner Tim Janus ate in 8 minutes (42). (Video of the contest).

If you need something to read due to Hurricane Sandy related disruptions, Jon Ronson’s article about competitive eating for the November 2012 issue of GQ is now available online. The article includes mini profiles of Joey Chestnut, Pat Bertoletti, Matt Stonie, Bob Shoudt and Maria “Edible” and contains reports from the Nathan’s finals, TooJay’s corned beef sandwich eating contest, and a behind the scenes look at the shortened cupcake contest held at the Isle of Capri casino in Waterloo, Iowa where Bob Shoudt offered these thoughts on cheating:

“I’ve seen everything,” he says. “People throwing hot dogs under the table. People making the biggest messes you can imagine.”

My eyes widen. “So there’s such a mess under the table it’s impossible to determine what counts as an eaten thing?” I ask.

“Oh, there’s techniques,” says Bob. “People suddenly get happy feet.” He mimes an eater dropping an item of food and then covertly stamping it into the ground. I’m appalled. Cheating makes everything pointless. And then Bob confesses that—if need be—he will be one of those cheaters. When his wife is in the crowd, they use pre-arranged signals. “If the eaters are dropping stuff like crazy, she’ll give a meaningless cheer. I’ll understand. Suddenly the food gets very slippery for me.”

He gives me a look that says: Don’t judge me until you’ve walked in my shoes. Leave the Gandhi-like behavior to the fools who don’t mind losing to the cheaters.

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A craigslist poster in Florida is selling a T-shirt signed by many 2012 Nathan's finalists including Joey Chestnut, Tim Janus, Sonya Thomas, Bob Shoudt and Juliet Lee for $200.
Simcoe.com has an article about Meredith Boxberger's fourth place finish in the women's Nathan's finals.

2012 Nathan’s Charlotte qualifier video

(via comment) Dave “US Male” Goldstein has a video of the last five minutes of the 2012 Nathan’s Charlotte, NC qualifier won by Yasir Salem along with the first five minutes of the post-contest period (with no awards). George Shea has harsh words for Paul Barlow (9:25 mark): “Horrible performance. Stick with the movies.” (Interestingly, in the Andy Troy podcast from March Crazy Legs Conti says he thinks Yasir Salem should be named the 2012 MLE rookie of the year even though he started competing in 2008 (starts at 7:30 mark).)

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2012 Nathan’s finals coverage Part 2

General contest links

Competitor-specific links

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The American Meat Institute has a blog entry defending hot dogs, but not necessarily hot dog eating contests: "There is no doubt that if you eat 68 hot dogs or any food in one sitting, it isn’t good for you, so we will leave that obvious story alone."

2012 Nathan’s finals converage

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Joey Chestnut six-peats Nathan’s men’s finals

1:07 Official Results:
1) Joey Chestnut 68, ties record
2) Tim “Eater X” Janus 52.25
3) Pat Bertoletti 51
4) Matt Stonie 46
5) “Notorious” Bob Shoudt 45
6) Adrian Morgan 35
7T) Sean Gordon 32
7T) Erik Denmark 32
9) Micah “Wing Kong” Collins 31
10) Tim “Gravy” Brown 30.5
11) Pete Davekos 28
12) Eric “Badlands” Booker 25.5
13) Yasir Salem 25
14) Crazy Legs Conti 20
15) Lee Vilinsky 15

12:57 Joey Chestnut has defended his title. His unofficial amount is 68, tying his record.

12:48 The contest has started

Mercury News has an article about Joey Chestnut and Matt Stonie

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Sonya Thomas wins 2012 Women’s Nathan’s finals

update July 5 Juliet Lee’s official total is 33

update 12:20 The AP has a short article

update 11:50 Full Results Part 1 | Part 2

1) Sonya Thomas 45 HDB, women’s record
2) Juliet Lee 43, 33 personal best, second woman to hit 40+
3) Michelle “Cardboard Shell” Lesco 25.5, personal best, fifth woman to hit 25+
4) Meredith Boxberger 21.5 probable Canadian record
5) Larell Marie Mele, 21.25 personal best
6) Marie “Edible” 18.5
7) Nicole Anderson 16 (via Nathan’s Famous Canada)
8) Dee Martin 9.5
9) Neslie Ricasa 9
10) Mary Bowers 8.5
11) Theresa Subich 7
12) Mia Davekos 6
13) Molly Nemunaitis 5.5
14) Janice Deregla 3

No-show: Heather Osthoff

update 11:45> The preliminary totals are Sonya Thomas 45, Juliet Lee 41. Both values are personal bests.

update 11:42 Sonya Thomas has surpassed her record of 41

Irving DeJohn of the NY Daily News is live-tweeting from the contest site

Direct link for ESPN3 viewing

Last minute coverage for Nathan’s womens competitors

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July 4 competitors’ twitters

A list of twitters for the competitors in today’s major contests follows after the jump:
Read the rest of this entry »


2012 Nathan’s finals preview – women

2012 Nathan’s Finals preview – men

Nathan's weigh-in coverage: AP article with a lot of pictures | NY1 News video | Huffington Post video & gallery | NY Times City Room blog entry | Gothamist blog entry
Biography.com has an interview with Sonya Thomas, who says her goal tomorrow is 45 hot dogs.
Wired.com has a report on the Nathan's qualifier held in Queens, NY.
Kate C of NotTheItGirls.com originally planned to attend the Nathan's finals, but decided to purchase a ticket for the Crif Dog Classic instead.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to oversee the "weigh-in" ceremony for Nathan's competitors today at City Hall Park at 1 pm today.
Mary Bowers appearance on KTLA this morning, in which she talked about her hot dog recipes, can be viewed online.
Craigslist has a job offering $100 for "little people" to appear in a comedy video recorded at the Nathan's finals.
Mercy for Animals new mascot, a 10 foot inflatable puppy in a hot dog bun, will appear at a protest at the Nathan's finals Wednesday.
WCBS has column about the planned Nathan's time change to 3pm oblivious to the restoration of the original noon start. (Coverage of the women's contest will begin on ESPN3.com at 11:25 am eastern). The Crif Dog Classic contest is expected to start at 2:15 pm eastern according to a "US Male" practice video.
The Globe and Mail has an interview with Meredith "Deep Fried Diva" Boxberger. She says she has never faced off against another female (she competed against Lara Martin in her PIE pizza debut.)

The Nervous Breakdown interviews Tim “Gravy” Brown

The Nervous Breakdown has an interview with Tim “Gravy” Brown. Topics of discussion include his disqualification from the 2011 Nathan’s finals, predictions for the 2012 finals (he thinks a Joey Chestnut defeat is possible), his food truck, his drop in the rankings to #10, his desire to “throw” a Nathan’s proposition bet involving his hot dog total and a competitive eating home improvement project:

Also, my girlfriend and I have redone one of the bathrooms in our house and renamed it the Vomitorium. We have taken out all the fixtures, shower doors, sink, toilet, etc. Covered the whole thing in tile and left only a drain in the corner with an eastward runoff. Instead of a shower head there is this high-powered hose thingy. It makes for easy clean-up. If I get some time I may try and put together a tile mosaic of some of my MLE rivals on the floor so I can vomit on them after a contest.

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