Competitors gear up for Coney Island hot dog contest

Nathan's Famous of Coney Island will once again host its famous hot dog eating contest on July 4th.Takeru Kobayashi, the reigning champion, faces some serious

CONEY ISLAND - Nathan's Famous of Coney Island will once again host its famous hot dog eating contest on July 4th.

Takeru Kobayashi, the reigning champion, faces some serious drawbacks this year. The six-time winner recently suffered from arthritis of the jaw. As recently as Monday, Kobayashi feared he would not be able to compete. However, his manager has confirmed that Kobayashi has received treatment and will be participating in Wednesday?s festivities.

If Kobayashi?s jaw won?t hold him back, perhaps his fiercest competitor, Joey Chestnut, will. Chestnut has never won the annual competition, but he recently broke Kobayashi?s world hot dog eating record by consuming 59-and-a-half franks.

?Ever since I started competitive eating, it was my goal to win this contest,? said Chestnut.

The event is expected to draw roughly 30,000 people and there?s already a heavy police presence in the area. Pre-event festivities begin at 10:30 a.m.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.

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