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Joey Chestnut, a phenomenal eating phenomenon, won his 15th title Monday at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, an annual Independence Day tradition in Coney Island, NY
The Viennese Warrior tumbled down 63 hot dogs and buns in front of thousands of boisterous, sun-kissed revelers – many unashamedly wearing Nathan’s famous styrofoam hot dog hats.
The total number of hot dogs was well below the record 76 frankfurters that Chestnut, 38, of Indiana, ate last year.
CONEY ISLAND HOT-DOG EATING CHAMP JOEY CHESTNUT WILL DEFEND HIS TITLE ON CRUTCHES
But it was enough to beat a no. 2-eater Geoffrey Esper from Massachusetts who downed 37.5 hot dogs and buns.
The victory was not without drama. Chestnut competed despite recently suffering a tendon rupture in his right leg – and limping around on crutches before the competition.
He was also interrupted by protesters about halfway through the 10-minute ingestion endurance test.
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They carried signs that read “Expose Smithfield Deathstar”.
One of the men pushed Chestnut aside in the heat of his Herculean digestive effort.
The champion responded by grabbing the man’s neck and helping pull him to the ground. He quickly returned to eating as authorities ushered the protesters off the stage.
“Joey was at a record pace. We should have witnessed history,” Frankie Capobianco, the first-time contestant in the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest from Boston, told Mass. Time.
“The guy totally screwed it up [Joey’s] momentum.”
A man was arrested to the left of the contestants’ platform as the heated competition continued despite the uproar.
“When the barren hills and the rugged earth and the once proud oceans trickle to sand, there will still be a monument to our existence,” said George Shea, presenter and host of the famous Nathan Hot Dog Eating Contest, of the officiating Champion.
“This man represents all that is eternal in the human spirit.”
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Miki Sudo won the women’s competition for the eighth time, eating 40 hot dogs and buns.
The world’s top eater was unable to compete last year because she was pregnant with Max, whose father was the men’s No. 3-ranked competitor Nick Wehry.
She had won seven straight titles from 2014 to 2021.
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The Independence Day contest returned to its traditional location at the corner of Surf Avenue and Stillwell Avenue on Monday for the first time since 2019.