Can Jarvis, Thomas Test Kobay?

The release of the 2004 Nathan's Famous qualifying circuit has prompted a wave of handicapping, with eating experts suggesting that several Americans may actually be able to beat three-time winner Takeru Kobayashi of Japan.

American hot dog champion Cookie Jarvis consumed 30 1/2 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes in 2003 while surging Sonya Thomas consumed 25. Since then, the rivals have both notched amazing victories, advancing their games in all variety of foods. It is considered possible that both Jarvis and Thomas will top 40 hot dogs and buns this year, hitting the double deuce.

Kobayashi is not competing as regularly as Jarvis and Thomas, and many expect that the combined pressure of the two top American gurgitators may force Kobayashi to eat too quickly, or to falter during the contest.

"No one has ever won four consecutive victories," said former world champion Mike "The Scholar" DeVito, who earned three world championship titles in five years. "The odds are still in favor of Kobayashi, but Jarvis and Thomas are right there behind him."