PHOENIX - A California man smashed the world record for hot dog eating at a contest Saturday, gobbling up more than 59 franks in 12 minutes.
Joey Chestnut, 22, of San Jose, shattered the record held by Takeru Kobayashi of Japan by downing 59 1/2 "HBDs" - hot dogs and buns - during the Southwest Regional Hot Dog Eating Championship at the Arizona Mills Mall in suburban Tempe.
Kobayashi's old record of 53 3/4 was set last year at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, held at Coney Island in New York, said George Costos, who helps runs the regional contests for Nathan's.
Chestnut placed second in last year's world championships, consuming 52 hot dogs.
"He's unbelievable - he just keeps on going," said Ryan Nerz, who works for Major League Eating, which he describes as "a world governing board for all stomach-centric sports."
"These guys' numbers have just been going up at a tremendous clip," Nerz said. "I always thought there was a limit - a limit to the human stomach and a limit to human willpower - but I guess not."
Chestnut won a free trip to New York, a year's supply of hot dogs and a $250 gift card to the mall.
He flew to New York on Saturday night for a previously scheduled trip to throw out the first pitch Sunday at a game between the New York Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks, Costos said.