competitive-eating

Natalie, Willie face off in hot-dog eating contest

July 5, 2012 at 9:50 AM ET

TODAY /
Natalie and Willie throw down some dogs, sans the water real competitive eaters get.

When it comes to competitive eating, Natalie Morales and Willie Geist better keep their days jobs.

Joined by reigning hot-dog eating champs Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas, Natalie and Willie faced off on the plaza to see who could down the most dogs in one minute.

Both anchors took a creative approach after getting a tip from Joey: “Eat with passion.”

Willie got through half a hot dog with slow, deliberate munching. Natalie took exactly one bite of two hot dogs, creating a decoy by flailing her fingers wildly while tossing most of the dogs on the floor.

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“You look like a mad bird, what are you doing?” said Tamron Hall, giggling.

“Look at this!” said Willie, pointing to Natalie’s discarded hot dog pieces. “That’s a DQ. You’re disqualified, Natalie.”

Wait, hold up Willie. Rewind that tape and you’ll see Willie suspiciously stuffing is pockets with something – could it be some dog he couldn’t down?

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Natalie was crowned winner. But neither could ever come close to Joey and Sonya, who threw down 68 and 45 hot dogs, respectively, at Nathan's Famous July 4 International Hot Dog-Eating Contest on Wednesday.

TODAY /
Natalie takes the win; Willie contests.

When asked about how he’s doing now, the day after the event, Joey explained while rubbing his belly, “I’m still recovering a little bit, but it’s good to be champion.” 

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