Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gobbled his way to a 15th win on Monday at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest in New York, powering down 63 hot dogs and buns at the annual exhibition of excess.
In a decisive comeback, women’s record-holder Miki Sudo downed 40 hot dogs and buns to win the women’s title after skipping last year’s competition because she was pregnant.
A spectator wearing a Darth Vader mask rushed the stage, momentarily disrupting the competition.
Chestnut, 38, from Indiana, put the protester in a brief chokehold before contest officials hurried over and escorted the intruder away.
Monday marked the contest’s return to its traditional location outside Nathan’s flagship shop in Brooklyn’s Coney Island neighbourhood in New York.
The event was relocated in 2020 and last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s beautiful to be back here,” Chestnut said after his feat, which he managed while wearing a surgical boot because of a leg injury.
“It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit. I was ignoring it,” said Chestnut, but the pain eventually slowed his pace in the 10-minute competition.
Last year Chestnut topped his own record by consuming 76 hot dogs and buns.
Sudo, 36, of Florida, set the women’s record at 48 and a half hot dogs and buns in 2020, before taking last year off .
She said afterwards that she hoped he would some day take a message away from it.
“I want to set an example,” she said, “to do things that you love and push yourself to your absolute limits and, when things get difficult, to still give it a try. And, you know, you might actually just come out victorious.”
In conjunction with the spectacle, Nathan’s donates 100,000 hot dogs to the Food Bank for New York City.