Joey Chestnut wins Nathan’s hot dog eating contest and puts the protester in a nutshell during the competition

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One of the most anticipated 4th of July events saw the hot dog in its most American form on Monday.

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, 38, devoured 63 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, successfully defending his stranglehold on the mustard belt. The annual pageant was held on Independence Day at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

The contest was a big throwback to Nathan’s traditional flagship store location. Since the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament has held its last two competitions in different locations.

“It’s nice to be back here,” Chestnut told ESPN after his 15th straight win, adding that he experienced pain during the sling session which compromised his ability to reach his goal. previous world record of 76 frankfurters and buns. “It hurts, but I was kinda in the zone. I didn’t know that,” he said.

Competitive eater Miki Sudo, 36, also picked up a victory at the event for the women’s division of the competition. By crushing 40 dogs and buns in the 10-minute match, Sudo earned his eighth victory at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Last year, Sudo pulled out of the competition because she had another kind of bun in the oven – a baby boy.

This year’s event, however, was not without drama. chestnut arrived at the competition on crutches after suffering a ruptured tendon in the leg.

In the middle of the competition, with a throat full of francs, Chestnut put an animal rights activist which crushed the stage in a brief chokehold. The footage, which was not shown by ESPN, made the rounds on social media.

In the clip, three protesters dressed in Darth Vader and Storm Trooper costumes make their way onto the stage. One manages to make its way past Chestnut and reveals a sign that reads “Expose Smithfield’s Death Star.” Within seconds of the reveal, Chestnut briefly holds the protester in a headache.

According to a press release shared by Direct Action Everywhere, a local network of animal rights activists, the demonstrators were protesting against hot dog manufacturing methods.

A protester interrupts defending champion Joey Chestnut during the Nathans Famous Fourth of July 2022 International competition at Coney Island on July 04, 2022.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

“The ‘Deathstar’ reference likens the mega-weapon villain from the Star Wars film series to the nation’s largest industrial pig farm, which provides pork for Nathan’s hot dogs,” the press release read. , referring to Smithfield Foods’ Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah.

At the time of this publication, Smithfield Foods has not responded to TODAY’s request for comment.

Each year for the hot dog show, Nathan’s Famous, Inc. donates 100,000 of its beef hot dogs to the New York Food Bank. In 2013, Nathan’s COO Wayne Norbitz said in a statement, “Nathan’s is thrilled to be able to do our part every 4th of July, and we look forward to the day when we’ve donated 1 million hot dogs. .

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