This year's winner of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest took down more than just frankfurters in Coney Island, Brooklyn, on Monday. AM NY reports that midway through the competition, perennial champ Joey Chestnut was bumped by an animal-rights activist who rushed the stage. While the protestor donned a Darth Vader mask, the force was not with him.
After being shoved by the protestor, Chestnut, who was competing with a broken leg, immediately put the man in a brief chokehold. Despite the incident, Chestnut continued to wolf down hot dogs and managed to bring home first place, eating 63. Unfortunately, the number was quite a few dogs short of his record of 76 hot dogs. Second place this year went to Geoffrey Esper, who scarfed down 47.5 hot dogs.
“I’m not full! I was exhausted during the contest. I got a little bit winded," Chestnut said told AM NY. "I slowed down, I started off really fast, but I got winded, and I need to make sure I come back in better shape next year so I can make a run on the record."
The protestor, who was arrested along with another person, physically knocked Chestnut off his game for a few seconds. But the champ explained that his inability to beat last year's record was purely because of exhaustion.
“I can’t really blame him [the protester] for too much. It was really quick,” said Chestnut. The 38-year-old California native has won the men's Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every year since 2016.
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