He slipped a diamond ring around her slender finger and a championship belt across his bulging waist.
Competitive eating champ Joey Chestnut, pumped up after proposing to his girlfriend, sucked down 61 hot dogs and buns Friday to claim his record eighth consecutive Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating title.
“I felt like I could eat anything,” said the love-struck Chestnut, 30, after proving the way to his stomach was definitely through his heart.
“The proposal went great,” he declared after mingling passion with piggishness. “She said ‘yes,’ and I’m a happy guy all around.”
On a wet and windy Fourth of July, the man known as “Jaws” dropped to one knee on Coney Island’s Surf Ave. before chowing down with both hands for 10 mouth-filling, stomach-turning minutes.
“Adrenaline rush,” Chestnut explained afterward.
And they say romance is dead?
Neslie Ricasa quickly said yes. And Chestnut quickly started eating, holding off a challenge from upset-minded challenger Matt Stonie — who scarfed down a very respectable 56 hot dogs.
Third place went to face-painted competitor Tim (Eater X) Janus with 44. Missing as usual was Chestnut’s beef-loving bete noir Takeru Kobayashi, who bailed on the Nathan’s event four years ago in a business dispute.
Ricasa, 26, showed off her diamond sparkler (along with her red, white and blue nail polish) after the eat-off and admitted that Chestnut caught her by surprise.
The pair, who both attended San Jose State, met three years ago.
“It was crazy,” she said after watching her hubby-to-be win yet again. “I never imagined that I would be proposed to onstage before the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest.”
Chestnut, with a little black box holding the ring, popped the question after Ricasa lost in the women’s competition just prior to the men’s chowdown.