Competitive eater Joey Chestnut was forced to take down more than his competition during the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on the Fourth of July.
Chestnut, who was on crutches during the annual competitive eating event, was reportedly downing his 17th hot dog, when a protestor in a Darth Vader mask rushed the stage carrying an “Expose Smithfield Deathstar” and shoved into the then 14-time title holder.
The animal rights protester, who was likely protesting Smithfield Foods, who produces the port used in Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, was immediately restrained by Chestnut, who put him in a headlock and tossed him to the ground between bites.
Chestnut just obliterated him🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/dry7Oy8KZK
— jonah block (@JonahBlock05) July 4, 2022
After the commotion, the competitive eater went on to take his 15th championship, by devouring 63 hotdogs in 10 minutes, but failed to best his record of 76 franks, which he set at last year’s event.
Chestnut was unharmed during the incident, but arrived to the Coney Island showdown, which dates back to 1916, on crutches due to a black cast on his right leg.
During his official 235 pound weigh-in at Hudson Yards in New York City on Friday, Chestnut said his injury, a ruptured tendon, wouldn’t slow him down. “I’m gonna eat like a madman,” he commented.
“It’s all right. I’ll be able to stand up and eat. I’m excited,” he said, declining to detail how the injury occurred. “I’m not eating with my leg.”
The 38-year-old California native eater defeated Japanese six-time consecutive event champion Takeru Kobayashi in 2007, by scoffing down 66 hot dogs. They tied during their faceoff the next year, but Chestnut won the subsequent five dog eat off that ensued.
Chestnut maintained an eight-year winning streak at the event, until he was taken down by rival Matt Stonie in 2015. He took back his crown in 2016, and has maintained consecutive back-to-back wins ever since.