By JOHN STEVENS
Winner: Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas ate 40 hot dogs in ten minutes in the fire Women's Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York
The 42-year-old Burger King manager from Alexandria, Virginia, became the first women to raise female competition's pink belt trophy and the $10,000 prize money.
Sonya 'The Black Widow' Thomas tasted victory today, eating 40 hot dogs to win the first-ever women's July Fourth hot dog competition on New York's Coney Island.
The champion eater easily swept eight other competitors today to win the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Second-place finisher Juliet Lee consumed 29 and a half hot dogs in the 10-minute race.
But Ms Thomas was one hot dog short of beating her record-setting 41 wieners and buns, which she managed in 2009.
Eat off: Nine women competed in the first women's only contest. Juliet Lee, centre, came in second place after eating 29 and a half hot dogs
The marathon eater, who is 5'5" and weighs 105 pounds, said that she was not full after making her way through the mound of food.
'I'm so excited, I'm so happy,' she said. 'But I could eat something else later.'
Second place Miss Lee, 45, from Maryland works as a beautician. She previously managed to chomp through 28 hot dogs in the contest.
Fellow contender LaRelle Marie Mele, 47, a personal trainer from Pennsylvania, said: 'To me, this excitement is similar to when women were given the right to vote.'
Victorious: Burger King manager Ms Thomas came fourth in last year's mixed competition
Ladies who lunch: The women go head to head in the eating compeition
In the male competition, Hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut won his fifth title in a row after eating 62 hot dogs, but he was 6 short of his own record.
'It feels pretty good,' Mr Chestnut said. 'I came out here to win and did what I had to do.
'I did not start as fast as I wanted and had a bit of trouble with the water, but I can't complain as I came out on top.'
Pat 'Deep Dish' Bertoletti started well, but was ultimately beaten coming in nine hot dogs short.
Mr Chestnut estimated that he ate about 20,000 calories in one go at the eating contest, but he said his doctor doesn't mind.
Lift it high: Ms Thomas picked up the trophy and the $10,000 prize money
Men's round: Competitors at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest gorge themselves against the clock for 'The Mustard Yellow International Belt'
Reigning chamption: Joey Chestnut won the men's competition for the fifth year in a row
'In the long run I'm really not consuming that many more calories than most people,' he said.
'I run. I really try to stay healthy. I count my calories rigorously when I'm not doing the contests.'
The San Jose, California, resident said that at 27, he's young enough to get away with his competitive binging for a few more years.
How he did it: Mr Chestnut managed to chomp his way through 62 hot dogs in ten minutes
His doctor checks his blood work and has told him not to worry as long as he gives himself time to recover, doesn't gain weight and doesn't develop diabetes, Mr Chestnut said.
Mr Chestnut is 6'1" and weighs 218 pounds.
A physically active man of his age, weight and height should be eating 3,200 calories a day to maintain his weight, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Unofficial winner: Takeru Kobayashi, who is barred from the official competition, claimed to eat 69 Nathan's hot dogs in ten minutes on a Manhattan roof top
Food lovers: Sonya Thomas and Joey Chestnut congratulate each other on their respective wins