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27 hot dogs: What new Celebration champ ate

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Brandon Clark consumes another hot dog on his way to claiming the title at this year's Heinkel's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Saturday. Clark ate 27 hot dogs, an event record and personal best.

The Decatur Celebration Heinkel’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has a new champion. The reigning winner, Teddy De la Cruz from Wood Dale, Illinois, got fourth place Saturday. And Brandon Clark from Cahokia, Illinois, set a Celebration and personal record for eating 27 hot dogs.

Watch the Herald & Review's Facebook live of the contest. 

Clark said he wants the 27 hot dogs to stretch his stomach to help with his training.

“If you throw up, you lose training, when I do challenges and contests that helps me,” he said. “I don’t care how fast I am, my stomach will not fit more than 27 or 28 (hot dogs) in there.”

Both Clark and De la Cruz said they travel around doing various food eating contests. Clark’s favorite is pizza, but De la Cruz’s specialty is ice cream. He and a few friends shared seven pounds of ice cream at the beginning of July.

De la Cruz came on stage carrying grocery bags of juice and other drinks. He said it makes eating so many hot dogs — which he ate plain — less miserable. He thought he had a chance for third place but ended up in fourth.

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“You have to train,” he said. “And I haven’t been as serious about contests.”

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Fans watch the  Heinkel's Hot Dog Eating Contest Saturday at Celebration. The winner finished 27 dogs. 

Decatur participants were Matthew Laws, Joe Melton and Jathan Portis. The other participant was Sean Nichols of Niagara, Wisconsin.

Frank Wach from Chicago got third place and Steve Lancette from Lafayette, Indiana, got second place.

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