Nathan's Resource Center

Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Hot dog Eating Contest

Four-time world champion Takeru Kobayashi of Japan will return to the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island, Brooklyn, on Monday, July 4, 2005 to defend his world championship title at the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

At stake was possession of the Coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt, the World Cup of competitive eating.

Kobayashi earned his status as one of history’s greatest athletes by consuming 50 Nathan’s Famous hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in 2001. In 2004 he consumed 44 ½; in 2003 he consumed 50 ½ and in 2004 he downed 53 ½ hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

Kobayashi has significant competition this year. In particular, the petite Sonya Thomas, a 100-pound, 37-year-old Korean-born resident of Alexandria, Virginia. Last year, Thomas set a new American hot dog-eating record by consuming 32 hot dogs and buns on July 4. Rich LeFevre of Henderson, Nevada, Cookie Jarvis of Nesconsett, New York, and Badlands Booker of Copaigue, New York, all have eaten in the 30 hot dog range.

The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating contest iss sanctioned by the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) and sponsored by

Media and Fan Details

The show that accompanies the event will begin at 11:30 pm, and the 12-minute eating competition will begin at 12:40 pm. ESPN has exclusive live broadcast rights to the event from 12 noon to 1 pm.

Those seeking to attend or cover the event should take the F or N train to Stillwell Avenue, or take the Belt parkway to Cropsey Avenue, Exit 6, then follow Cropsey Avenue south to Surf Avenue and take a left. Nathan’s is located at 1310 Surf Avenue at Stillwell.


Eric “Badlands” Booker
Copiague, NY
6'5", 401 lbs, 36 Years, 22½ Hot Dogs (Civil Service, NYC Qualifier)

· Entenmann’s Pumpkin Pie Eating Champion, 5 pumpkins pies in 12 minutes
· World Matzo Ball Eating Champion, 21 matzo balls 5 minutes, 25 seconds
· Doughnut Eating Champion, 49 glazed doughnuts in 8 minutes
· Cannoli, cheesecake, corned beef hash and pea eating champion
· New York City transit conductor for 12 years
· Rapper with debut album “Hungry & Focused,” working on second album

Rob Burns
Wolverhampton, England
5’8”, 154 lbs, 34 Years

· Computer systems design consultant
· Married with two children
· Ate entire fast-food restaurant menu
· Has won trophies for football and pool, and is a skilled poker player

Joey Chestnut
San Jose, CA
6’1”, 225 lbs, 21 Years, 20½ Hot Dogs (Daly City, CA Qualifier)

· World Deep-Fried Asparagus-Eating Champion, 6.3 pounds 11.5 min.
· Studying civil engineering at San Jose State University
· Learned to eat fast growing up with five siblings

Hungry Charles Hardy
Brooklyn, NY
5’11", 330 lbs, 41 Years, 21 Hot Dogs (Cranbury, NJ Qualifier)

· World Shrimp Eating Champion, 4 pounds and 9 ounces 12 minutes
· World Cabbage Eating Champion, 6 pounds in 9 minutes
· Competed in Nathan’s contest for eight consecutive years
· Top American eater on July 4th, 2001 – ate 23 hot dogs
· Ate 12 feet of sushi at a contest in Japan

Tim “Eater X” Janus
New York, NY
5’10”, 170 lbs, 28 Years, 22½ Hot Dogs (Hartford, CT Qualifier)

· 2004 IFOCE Rookie of the Year
· World Shoo-Fly Pie-Eating Champion, 6 pounds shoo-fly pie in 8 minutes
· Goal in life: eat every food at least once; Hobbies: make beef jerky
· Day trader by trade, eater by disposition

Cookie Jarvis
Nesconset, NY
6'6", 411 lbs, 39 Years, 24 Hot Dogs (Long Island, NY Qualifier)

· 2001 IFOCE Rookie of the Year
· Chinatown Dumpling Eating Champion, 91 dumplings in 8 minutes
· Las Vegas Battle of Buffets Champion
· Ice cream, French fry and pasta champion
· Neighborhood realtor

Takeru Kobayashi
Nagano, Japan
5’6”, 144 lbs, 26 Years, 53½ Hot Dogs 2004

· No. 1 ranked eater in the world
· World Champion Hot Dog Eater, 53½ hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes
· Krystal Square Off World Hamburger-Eating Champion, 69 in 8 minutes
· Ate 17.7 lbs of pan-seared cow brains to earn $25,000
· Ate 20 lbs. of noodles, 20 lbs. of rice balls

Ron Koch
Las Vegas, NV
5’11”, 165 lbs, 57 Years, 21 Hot Dogs (Tempe, AZ Qualifier)

· Lived in Brooklyn for 45 years
· Consumed two 5-pound hamburgers with trimmings in 15 minutes
· League photographer for the NBA from 1979 to 1993

“Jammin’” Joe LaRue
Hollywood, FL
6’8”, 285 lbs, 45 Years, 20 Hot Dogs (Pembroke Pines, FL Qualifier)

· World Sweet Corn-Eating Champion, 31 ears of sweet corn in 12 minutes
· Ate 43 Conch Fritters at the 2003 Conch Fritter Worlds in Key West
· Works as a chef

Rich “The Locust” LeFevre
Hendersen, NV
5’6”, 130 lbs, 61 Years, 27 Hot Dogs (Las Vegas, NV Qualifier)

· 27¾ hot dogs in the 2004 Nathan’s Famous July 4 contest to place fourth
· World Chili Eating Champion, 1½ gallons in 10 minutes
· Also watermelon, corny dog, SPAM and birthday cake eating champion
· Two 72-ounce steaks, with salad and potato in 58 minutes

Carlene LeFevre
Henderson, NV
5’6”, 135 lbs, 60 Years, 23 Hot Dogs (Atlanta, GA Qualifier)

· Represented the USA in the 2001 Food Battle Club in Japan
· World Posole Eating Champion, 110 ounces in 12 minutes
· Placed fourth in the Las Vegas Battle of the Buffets
· Aerobics instructor, former Mary Kay Cosmetics salesperson

Don “Moses” Lerman
Levittown, NY
5’7”, 235 lbs, 56 Years, 20 ½ Hot Dogs (Saratoga, NY Qualifier)

· Retired day-old bread store owner
· Appeared on Sally Jesse Raphael, Daily Show, Gutbusters, Big Eats
· Long-Course Baked Bean Eating Champion, 6 pounds in under 2 minutes
· 2000 Matzo Ball Eating Champion
· 2002 Jalapeno Eating Champion, 120 jalapenos in 15 minutes
· Placed 2nd in 2003 and placed 3rd in 2002 at the Philadelphia Wing Bowl

Kenji Oguni
Isezaki-shi, Gunma-ken, Japan
5’5”, 110 lbs, 27 Years, 19 Hot Dogs (Tokyo, Japan Qualifier)

· Won two Food Fight Association Formula Battles in 2003
· Won Togakushi-soba Eating Contest and Motegi Festival Eating Contest
· Favorite hobby is watching movies

Patrick Philbin
Moonachie, NJ
6’2”, 325 lbs, 41 Years, 20 ½ Hot Dogs (Philadelphia Qualifier)

· Three cats, “Stinky,” “Smelly” and “Precious,” and a dog named “Joey”
· Hobbies include weight lifting and bike riding
· Courier, calls himself “Pat from Moonachie”

Sonya Thomas
Alexandria, VA
5’5”, 100 lbs, 37 Years, 32 Hot Dogs (Norfolk, VA Qualifier)

· American Nathan’s Famous hot dog record holder, 32 in 12 min.
· Has eaten 65 hard boiled eggs in 6 minutes, 40 seconds
· Acme World Oyster Eating Champion, 46 dozen Louisiana in 10 minutes
· Cheesecake Eating Champion, 10 lbs. in 9 minutes
· Also grilled cheese, meatball and taco champion
· Hobbies include bowling


Orbitz makes it easy to find your summer vacation at popular destinations including Las Vegas, Florida, Hawaii, and Mexico. Orbitz' exclusive Matrix^(TM) display shows you more options than any other site, letting you build a package and find a great deal. That's more flights, more hotels, and more cars. The fastest way to the best trip. Just Orbitz and GO!


Nathan’s Famous donated 10,000 hot dogs today to City Harvest, the world's oldest food rescue organization.

“Donating to City Harvest is an important part of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July celebration,” said Wayne Norbitz, president and COO of Nathan’s Famous. “It is essential we all understand that hunger is a significant issue faced by thousands of Americans each day. City Harvest has been serving the needs of New York’s hungry since 1981, helping more than 260,000 New Yorkers find a meal each week. We are thrilled to assist them in their ongoing efforts.”

Jennifer McLean, Director of Food Development for City Harvest said: "We are very grateful to Nathan’s Famous for this generous donation. The donated hot dogs will be greatly appreciated by those who receive them. Working with socially conscious companies like Nathan’s Famous makes it easier for City Harvest to continue to work toward our goal of ending hunger in communities throughout New York City."


Nathan’s Famous is pleased to welcome Natasha Alexandra, a promising young talent, to the July 4th stage to perform the National Anthem on America’s most patriotic day. Natasha is a self-taught songstress who writes songs from the heart and is quickly earning respect & rave reviews on both sides of the 49th parallel. By combining her provocative hyper-ballads with cheerful banter, Natasha has built up a devoted audience in New York City with her intensely endearing performances.

Alexandra is featured on 3 major industry compilation CDs this summer. The Songwriters Hall of Fame has given her the coveted spot of being track 1 on their CD compilation for 2005, Jane Magazine has chosen to introduce this exciting new talent in their August/05 issue’s ‘annual CD compilation’ & Rckrgrl Magazine has included her among other great artists on their 2005 discoveries CD. You can catch Natasha playing around NYC & LA this summer. Natasha is proud to be making her Coney Island Debut this 4th of July!,

Amos Wengler, known throughout New York City as the “Bard of Brooklyn,” has written dozens of songs about Coney Island, which he performs at the boroughs major gatherings, including The Mermaid Parade. Wengler will likely sing his hit, “Hot Dog, Hot Dog.”

Badlands Booker is a competitive eater and aspiring rapper. Booker’s first effort, “Hungry & Focused,” is the first competitive-eating themed rap album. Hungry & Focused has sold with extraordinary speed and Booker is now in the studio working on a follow-up.

Booker will join leading choir members from the metropolitan area to perform a rap based on “Amazing Grace.” In the choir will be Chuck Morris, Denille Colbourn, Derek Griffin, Letitia Griffin, Cassandra Garcy and Alexsandra Jean-Baptiste. Julien Maile, who produced Hungry & Focused, will perform with the choir and will play the keyboard.

Daniel Sprague, bagpipes, a specialist with experience at hundreds of events.