With Kobayashi out, local pro could take Nathan's belt from Joey Chestnut

Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut battle in 2007 Nathan's contest. (Photo: Seth Wenig/AP)

Japanese eating machine Takeru Kobayashi will not take part in the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, according to Major League Eating, which means that Royersford's Bob "Notorious B.O.B." Shoudt has his sights set squarely on reigning champ Joey Chestnut.

Kobayashi, who held the coveted Mustard Yellow Belt from 2001 to 2006, was unseated by Chestnut, a three-time winner of 610 WIP's Wing Bowl in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Competitive-eating sources say Kobayashi may have backed out due to fear of losing again to Chestnut, but Chestnut isn't so sure. "I'm fully expecting him to compete," Chestnut said. "I think he's trying to pull a sneak attack the same way he did with the fake jaw injury a few years ago," Chestnut, who chomped a record 68 hot dogs in the 10-minute contest last summer, told us yesterday.

Shoudt, who's a friend of Chestnut's, said yesterday that he's "gonna need some luck" to outeat him, even though "I've annihilated him in ribs, grits, chili spaghetti. He's a beatable guy."

Shoudt, a computer-systems administrator by day, is hoping for the city's support. "I do feel a little pressure coming from Philadelphia. The Flyers put on a good show. Maybe I can help erase some of the sting of the Stanley Cup loss by bringing home the belt," he says. Let's hope so.

Major League Eating president Richard Shea says the league "sought to arrive at an agreement with Kobayashi, but contract negotiations have reached an impasse." He hopes Kobayaski will change his mind and compete against Chestnut.

We've just added the video below. It's a song by McSAPRR from his album "Hot Dog Rock"