Major League Eating: Sonya Thomas Named First-Ever Women's Champion at 96th Annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

​Could you eat 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes? Would you want to?

There is one woman who can. Competitive eater Sonya Thomas, aka the "Black Widow," chowed her way to victory today to win the first-ever women's Nathan's International July Fourth Hot Dog Eating Contest on New York's Coney Island. 

Thomas beat out eight competitors to take home the $5,000 first prize, as well as a special pink championship belt compliments of sponsor Pepto-Bismol

Interested in entering the world of competitive eating? Read on to find out where to get started...

If your dream is to eat your way to glory, one can only hope to be like Thomas, who weighs-in at just over 100-pounds. She out-paced fellow female competitors and scarfed down a total of 40 hot dogs, beating out the second-place holder by more than 10 whole dogs. She is ranked No. 5 by Major League Eating, the organization that oversees worldwide competitive eating contests. 

But Thomas' 40-dogs-down is nothing compared to champion Joey Chestnut, who tackled back a mind-blowing 68 hot dogs (14 more than his 2010 record) in the men's competition, securing his fifth consecutive win, a $10,000 prize, and the coveted "mustard belt." 

Want to enter a local eating competition to see if you can chow down like the top dogs? Check out for a list of local-area events and contests. You can search by city, Fort Lauderdale and Miami included. Then, start eating. With a year's worth of practice you could possibly place in next year's Star Spangled Stop Burger Eating Contest, which held its inaugural competition Monday, July 4 at the Weston Town Center. 

Representatives from Stop Burger have yet to name the man who won Monday's contest, but confirmed he ate a total of eight, half-pound burgers in under five minutes for a $2,500 grand prize.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna