hot dog eating contest

Joey Chestnut Wins Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest for the 15th Time – While Putting a Protester in a Headlock (All in a Day’s Work)

Eating is a sport for many Americans, especially when we’re faced with our favorite grilled foods on national holidays that encourage overindulging. But some take our country’s daily tradition of eating too many processed foods to a whole ‘nother level, and enter eating contests, like Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

That’s where the world first discovered the big-tummied talents of one Joey Chestnut, who just took home his 15th win at the annual competition.

On July 4, Chestnut celebrated his freedom to eat as much as he damn pleases by downing an impressive 63 hot dogs plus buns in a mere 10 minutes. As stomach-churning as that sounds, it isn’t even his biggest win yet: his own personal record for the contest is 76 hot dogs.

And he did all that despite being confined in a surgical boot because of a leg injury. (“It hurts, but I was in the zone for a little bit. I was ignoring it,” he told the press.)

Oh, and he put a protester in a headlock mid-competition. You know, just your average occupational hazard wearing a Darth Vader Mask and toting an “Expose Smithfield’s Deathstar” sign.

Apparently, the protester was trying to raise awareness about Smithfield Foods, a pork producer based in Smithfield, Virginia, which is notorious for controversial food practices.

But back to the hero at hand. Chestnut took home $10,000 – and probably a bellyache – for his efforts. The runner-up, Geoffrey Esper, only managed to get 47.5 hot dogs down his gullet.

Maybe next year we’ll hold our own Fourth of July hot dog eating contest. Who’s in?

Cover Photo: Bobby Bank (Getty Images)