Petite Woman Downs 26 Franks in 12 Min.


Updated: 6/19/2007

NORFOLK, Va.

Juliet Lee, a 107-pound salon manager from Maryland, demolished the competition in the 5th Annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest by downing 26 franks and buns in 12 minutes.

The contest at the MacArthur Center was a qualifying event for Nathan's international competition, which ESPN will televise live from Coney Island, N.Y., on July 4.

Lee, 41, was the only woman in Saturday's field of 13. Her 26-dog meal was substantially more than the men flanking her — and weighing in at 360 and 359 pounds — could manage.

''Seven hundred-nineteen pounds of man, and they are losing to a 107-pound woman!'' announcer George Shea yelled into a microphone as the crowd roared.

Mike Cotterell, the large Chesapeake man on Lee's right, stood and shook his head in wonder as the crowd counted down the last 10 seconds. Lee kept stuffing her cheeks.

''I was kind of thinking I could probably outeat her, but she was incredible,'' said Joe Tursi, a 359-pound contractor from Virginia Beach who took second with 15½ dogs.

Major League Eating, which sanctions events and promotes professional eaters, is pushing Lee as a breakout star this year, her rookie season.

''Without any question, she is one of the future leaders of the sport,'' Shea said.

Lee said she grew up in China without much food and often was hungry. Since then, she's always been able to eat a lot when the food is there.

''When I see other people eat (competitively), I was like, 'I can do that,''' Lee said.


Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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