Joey Chestnut

Phenomenal frankfurter-eater “Jaws” Chestnut ate 63 hot dogs and buns to win the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest for the 15th time on Monday.

It was Miki Sudo’s comeback victory after missing the 2017 frank fest due to pregnancy, as she devoured 40 wieners and buns to claim the title of women’s champion.

A Darth Vader mask-wearing spectator stormed the stage, disturbing the competition for a short time. Contest officials rushed up and led the invader away after Chestnut held the protester in a short chokehold

Another protester in a white stormtrooper mask had also crept behind the competitors and erected a sign reading, “Expose Smithfield’s Deathstar.”‘ It is Smithfield that is responsible for Nathan’s world-renowned hot dogs. As soon as the scuffle was over, Chestnut returned to his original task: devouring more hot dogs.

Also on Monday, the contest moved back to its original spot in Brooklyn’s Coney Island area, just outside of Nathan’s flagship store. The coronavirus pandemic forced the event to be postponed twice in 2020 and last year.

The 38-year-old Chestnut told ESPN following his feat that “it’s amazing to be back here” in front of a crowd of fans that he managed while wearing a surgical boot due to an injury to his leg that he had suffered.

There was a brief moment of concentration, but I was hurting. The pain kept me from running as fast as I wanted to,” Chestnut admitted. “I was trying to ignore it.” It was a record-breaking year for the Westfield, Indiana, man, who scarfed down 76 hot dogs and buns.

Several sportsbooks, including FanDuel and DraftKings, listed Chestnut as the favorite with an over/under of 74.5 hot dogs, but the protesters’ interference resulted in reimbursements for those bets.

In 2020, Sudo of Tampa, Florida, set the women’s record at 481.2 wieners and buns before taking a year off to give birth to her first child. This year, Sarah and Nick Wehry, a fellow competitive eater she met through Nathan’s challenge in 2018, are expecting their first child, Max. Dad held the infant as he watched his 36-year-old mother, Nathan, win her ninth victory in a row from the sidelines.

Afterward, she told ESPN that she wanted him to learn from it. “I want to set an example to pursue things that you love and push yourself to your greatest boundaries and, when things get difficult, to still give it a shot,” she said. You never know, you might even come out victorious.”

During Wehry’s attempt to win the men’s title, Sudo took up parenting duties. Nathan distributes 100,000 franks to the New York City Food Bank in conjunction with the event.

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