DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – “It’s about you and food,” says the winner of the 5th annual Coney Island Coney Dog Eating Challenge.

Former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn giving tips during contest. (WWJ Jon Hewett)

Former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn giving tips during contest. (WWJ Jon Hewett)

With sweat dripping down his face, Matthew Holowicki topped last year’s consumption of coneys eating 19 and 1/2 chili dogs in 10 minutes.

“All those other guys at the table, they’re competition but you are really competing against yourself and that’s the big thing — you and that plate,” says Holowicki of Plymouth. “We’ve got a saying ‘you’ve got to eat through the pain’ and any of these guys here can tell you there is pain involved. Once you get to 10 or 15 you know you are hurting.”

The returning champ and this year’s winner, Holowicki says he’ll keep coneys off the menu for a while.

“My friends are jerks, so they’ll be calling saying ‘hey dude, want to go for a coney?’ But the kids will be nice and they know not to hug daddy real tight tonight,” he laughs.

Last year Holowicki downed 17 3/4 coneys to take home top prize and a full tummy.

“Our Coney Dog Eating Challenge gets bigger and better and has become one of the many events that our customers and all Detroiters look forward to every year,” said Grace Keros and Chris Sotiropoulos, co-owners of American Coney Island.

Former Detroit Piston Rick Mahorn was among the celebrities on hand to encourage contestants and help with the judging.

As 2015 winner — he’ll will receive a coney championship belt as well as prizes from a variety of local retailers – he’ll also be able to eat free for a year at American Coney Island.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Detroit Police Fund and Detroit Firemen’s Benevolent Fund charities.

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