Joey Chestnut came in to the 2011 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest as the prohibitive favorite. He'd won the last five events and according to Las Vegas odds makers (yes, there's betting on this) he was a 9.5 dog favorite. Chestnut, who's walk-on music of Teenage Wasteland from The Who was a perfect choice, finished with 63 hot dogs consumed in the 10 minutes time.
The second-place finisher was Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti who only managed 52. You will notice however, that the nine hot dog margin of victory for Chestnut was just half a dog shy of the betting line. There are going to be some suspicious gamblers in Las Vegas pouring over the tape of this one looking for signs of chicanery.
Two contestants who earned their spot on the podium by winning a contest in Tempe, AZ on June 11 weren't even listed in the full results. The fine folks at Nathan's and their corporate broadcast partner ESPN clearly have no interest giving us a fair competition. They load the podium with the likes of Erik "The Red" Denmark and Michelle Lesco (Tempe winners) and then don't even bother to show their results. Of course, Demark (29) and Lesco (21.5) were so far off the winning pace in their qualifying results that their presence was more decorative than competitive.
Making this competition even more suspect was six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi leaving Nathan's to stage his own event. Kobayashi reportedly ate a world-record 69 dogs! Perhaps this is all just a trick to set up a unifying duel between Kobayashi and Chestnut in a pay-per-view event that would shatter previous revenue records in the sport.