NEW YORK — Chowhound Joey “Jaws” Chestnut dropped to one knee and proposed to his girlfriend before Friday’s annual hot dog eating contest, then packed away 61 franks and buns to hold onto his title.

The San Jose, California, man fell far short of his record last year of 69 dogs and buns, but he still easily beat second-place finisher Matt Stonie, also of San Jose, who downed just 56.

Before the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, Chestnut, 30, made it official with Neslie Ricasa, who also is a competitive eater.

In the women’s division, defend- ing champ Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas lost to Miki Sudo, who wolfed down 34 franks and buns.

– From news service reports