CONEY ISLAND — These competitive eaters are getting hungry for hot dogs.
One day before the Nathan's Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, the contenders — including Joey "Jaws" Chestnut and Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas, the winners of last year's men's and women's contests — weighed in at a ceremony in City Hall Park.
"I have to fight myself mentally to do this," said Thomas, who last year matched the 2009 female world record of 41 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
Thomas, who is 5-foot-5 and weighed in at just 100 pounds, said she hopes to break the record this year.
"This year I will turn 45 and that will be my target," she said.
Chestnut, from San Jose, Calif., said the "high end" of his goal would be 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
"I have been practicing really hard for this contest," said Chestnut, who weighed in at 220 pounds. "For the last six weeks, I [got] my body used to eating and digesting more and more hot dogs."
The Nathan's hot dog contest has been a city tradition for 97 years.
Nathan's President and COO Wayne Norbitz, who joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Tuesday's weigh-in, said Nathan’s will donate 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City.
The hot dog eating contest will kick off July 4 at Nathan's, 1310 Surf Ave. in Coney Island, with the women's competition at 11:30 a.m. followed by the men's competition at noon.