Joey Chestnut continued his dominance in the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, winning the event for the 15th time on Monday. But before he could hold the belt, the 38-year-old had to take down a protester who rushed the stage. In the middle of the competition, Chestnut put a mini chokehold on the protester before security rushed in to remove the person. Chestnut then went back to eating hot dogs as the protester was sent away.
The protestor was wearing a Darth Vader mask and holding a sign that said, "Expose Smithfield's Deathstar," which could be referring to the treatment of factory farm animals, according to USA Today. When it was all said and done, Chestnut ate 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes, which is short of his record of 76. He has won 15 of the last 16 contests with his only loss being against Matt Stonie in 2015.
Joey Chestnut gained 2 titles today. Hot dog eating contest and probably UFC 277 pic.twitter.com/OMno0FkXdl— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) July 4, 2022
"Most athletes have two kinds of primes," Chestnut told USA Today before his win on Monday. "Their first prime is when their body is the best. I've passed that prime. The second prime is when their mind and knowledge is at its best, where you know your body and how to practice less but be just as prepared. I'm there now."
Joey Chestnut wins his 1️⃣5️⃣th Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating championship 🏆 pic.twitter.com/oyk84XEa0z— ESPN (@espn) July 4, 2022
In an interview with delish, Chestnut talked about how he got started in competitive eating. "I could eat more than pretty much all the other three brothers combined...It was something that I was kind of ashamed of and it was kind of like a joke," he said. "He signed me up to my first contest...I really didn't want to do it, but I only went to the first contest because I was 21 years old and the organizer offered him a free hotel room."
Chestnut also talked about the aftermath of competing in a hot dog eating contest. "By the time I get back to the hotel, I'm just dead-tired and so sticky from sweat, he explained. "Yeah, grease is starting to come out of me. Really, even after I shower and I started sweating again, I smell like a hot dog. So, my night isn't the best, but I'm happy. It's weird. I love feeling like garbage sometimes."