- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Sonya Thomas has chowed her way to victory, eating 40 hot dogs to win the first-ever women’s July Fourth hot dog competition on New York’s Coney Island.

Thomas easily swept eight other competitors Monday to win the Nathan’s International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Second-place finisher Juliet Lee consumed 29 1/2 hot dogs in the 10-minute race.

Thomas is known as the Black Widow of competitive eating. She downed a record-setting 41 wieners and buns in 10 minutes in 2009. The same year, world champion Joey Chestnut put away 68.

Nathan’s officials say female champions like the diminutive Thomas and Lee weren’t getting enough of the spotlight. Both women weigh about 105 pounds.

The men’s competition will be held at noon Monday.

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