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Nathan's Seeks Bunnettes Via Bunnette Bootcamp

Nathan’s Famous will run a Bunnette Bootcamp at its flagship restaurant in Coney Island on June 27 prior to its last regional qualifying contest for the Fourth of July event.

Veteran Bunnette Laura Leu will lead the would-be eating contest boosters through a grueling set of challenges to determine the three candidates best suited to the job. Those Bunnettes who are chosen to be on stage on the Fourth of July will appear before tens of thousands of fans, and millions of television and ESPN viewers, in the traditional Nathan’s Famous cheerleader outfit.

"They are often overlooked at the annual Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, but their role is critical," said George Shea. "Not only must the Bunnettes tally hundreds of hot dogs eaten at a dizzying speed, they must entertain the crowd and serve as ambassadors for the sport."

“It’s a gut check when you realize that you’re the one reporting the hot dog count to a horde of media and fans who have traveled thousands of miles to attend this event,” said Leu. “I don’t want to put my girls in that position unless they are prepared to handle the pressure.”

Last year, Coney Island authorities stated that 40,000 fans crowded the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island to witness Joey Chestnut’s rematch with Takeru Kobayashi. Over one million households viewed the contest’s live telecast on ESPN. Chestnut, a San Jose resident, ate 59 hot dogs in the 10-minute contest and ended up in a tie with Japan’s Kobayashi. Overtime ensued, and in just 50 seconds Chestnut consumed an additional five hot dogs to secure his second Nathan’s Famous title.

Men and women age 18 and older who would like to participate can email for information on the event on June 27, 2009 at 1310 Surf Avenue (Surf and Stillwell avenues) in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Nathan’s Famous and Major League Eating reserve the right to determine participants at their sole discretion.