Nathan's competitors prepared to gorge their way to glory - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

20,000 calories in 10 minutes? No problem for Nathan's Hot Dog competitors

Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut, left, and Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas, right, will try to break their own records Thursday at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. (Source: CNN) Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut, left, and Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas, right, will try to break their own records Thursday at the annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) – It's the Masters, Super Bowl and World Series of competitive eating.

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest will crown a heavyweight eating champion of the world in its annual gluttonous throw down - not throw up - of the all-American food.

More than 40,000 people will pack Coney Island for 10 minutes of awe-inspiring scarfing, dunking and stuffing of dogs at the annual Fourth of July tradition.

The undisputed favorite is six-time champion Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, who downed 68 dogs last year, tying his own world record.

That adds up to around 20,000 calories … in 10 minutes.

The only drama will likely be in whether Jaws breaks that record.

"It's a rough record to beat, it's pushing the limits of the human body. If the weather is nice and the hot dogs are nicely cooked, I will do it," he told CNN.

Also going for gorging glory is female feaster Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas. 

Thomas crammed down 45 dogs last year and was declared the women's division winner for the second year in a row.

For years, Thomas hung with and beat many of her male competitors until Nathan's gave women their own category and prize in 2011.

Thomas says her goal this year is to down 50 dogs. Thomas, by the way, weighs in at 105 pounds.

"I know it's going to be difficult because 45, I'm reaching my maximum, you know. But I know I'm going to try. It's hard," she said.

She's No. 3 in the Major League Eating rankings. Not the No. 3 woman eater. The No. 3 eater in the world, regardless of gender.

The women's competition begins at 11:30 a.m. ET on ESPN 3, with the men following at noon on ESPN 2.

Happy eating.

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