Thomas vs. Chestnut at Thanksgiving Invitational

With his astonishing 62 Krystals during Saturday’s Krystal Square Off World Hamburger Eating Championship, Joey Chestnut accomplished something besides finishing in 2nd place. He became the first American eater to pose a legitimate threat to Sonya Thomas’ longstanding reign as the top eater in the nation.

The two superstars will collide tomorrow in the Thanksgiving Invitational.

The rivalry has competitive eating fans buzzing, with ‘Team Sonya’ and ‘Team Chestnut’ shirts routinely being spotted at New York’s trendiest nightclubs.

Diehard competitive eating fans wonder, however, if the rivalry will develop the vitriol of some the sport’s most heated one-on-one rivalries. Both Thomas and Chestnut are diplomatic with their words and careful not to offend, not dissimilar from media savvy athletes like Tiger Woods and Tom Brady.

While Thomas and Chestnut are unquestionably the two most talented American competitive eaters of all time, it is unclear if their rivalry will ever yield the animosity of Libnitz vs. Rudman, Seiken vs. Lipsitz, and, most recently, Janus vs. Boone.

(In one of the most serious accusations in the history of the sport, Libnitz accused Rudman of elbowing him in the gut during the 1938 Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Rudman denied the charge).