Joey Chestnut was struggling at the corner of Surf and Stillwell this Fourth of July. The combination of sunny 80 degree temperatures and a leg injury that led him to wear an air cast on stage at the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest slowed America’s most prolific professional eater at the event he’d won 14 times prior.
Chestnut had broken his own world record the year before by scarfing down 76 hot dogs and buns in only 10 minutes. This year, however, the Wayne Gretzky of tube steaks struggled to his worst showing since 2015; only 63 dogs. But in the process, he casually tossed aside a protestor who tried to steal the spotlight in the middle of the contest:
Chestnut just obliterated him🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/dry7Oy8KZK
— jonah block (@JonahBlock05) July 4, 2022
In a span of five seconds, Chestnut identified the interloper in the Darth Vader mask, threw him in a chokehold, tossed him to security, and continued eating like nothing happened, all despite arriving on stage in crutches. While limped to the finish relative to his past performances, he still managed to smoke second-place Geoffrey Esper, who set a personal record Monday, by more than 15 hot dogs and buns.
It was a Michael Jordan flu game type performance for a competitor who’d hobbled his way to the stage to defend his crown. And while he may not have lived up to his own lofty standard of gluttony, he still managed to claim a 15th mustard yellow belt while shunting aside a trespasser all in the same 10 minute span.