Photo: Theo Zierock, AFP / Getty Images
If you're a female competitive eater, your chances of winning the Nathan's Famous hot dog-eating contest just got slightly easier. CNN reports that this year, Major League Eating, the event sponsor, has decided to separate the contest by gender, allowing the likes of Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas (personal record: 36 hot dogs and buns) and 100-pound hair salon-owner Juliet Lee (personal record: 34) to compete against other females, rather than four-time winner Joey Chestnut (personal record: 54).
CNN explains, "The women's competition will abide by the same rules, with at least 10 female contestants required to eat as many hot dogs and buns as they can in 10 minutes." However, the men's grand prize is $20,000 while the women's grand prize is only $5,000.
Major League Eating chairman George Shea explains that the instant celebrity for the first female hot dog-eating champion will make up for the dollar disparity, and that the overall prize money will be more than in previous years.
"Serena Williams didn't have to beat Roger Federer to win the Wimbledon title, and we don't think Sonya Thomas should have to beat Joey Chestnut," said Shea to the New York Post. Qualifying events start on April 23 in 13 cities across the country.