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July 4th is a holiday to celebrate the independence of our country for most Americans, although some Democrats couldn’t seem to get that concept down, preferring to use the day to throw tantrums.
But July 4th has an added meaning to Joey Chestnut. For Chestnut, it’s the day he defends his title as the Nathan’s Hot Dog eating champion.
He started out already hobbled. He had suffered a leg injury and so had to attend the event on crutches, wearing a cast and a boot on his right foot.
Coney Island hot-dog eating champ Joey Chestnut will defend his title on crutches pic.twitter.com/45W6hxIwrl
— New York Post (@nypost) July 2, 2022
Chestnut said it was a ruptured tendon but, “I’ll be able to stand up and eat,” he said. “I’m not eating with my leg.” “I’m gonna eat like a madman,” he promised.
Last year he managed to put away 76 hot dogs in just about ten minutes a new world record.
“When the barren hills and the cracked earth and the once-proud oceans drain to sand, there will still be a monument to our existence,” emcee and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest host George Shea said of the reigning champ.
“This man represents all that is eternal in the human spirit.”
But this year, it wasn’t just the hurdle of a tendon and crutches that he had to overcome during the contest.
As Chestnut was shoveling away the hot dogs, a protester charged up next to him, shoving him and waving a sign that said, “Expose Smithfield Death Star,” a protest against the Smithfield food company. What happened next was something to behold.
ESPN didn’t show the electric moment that glizzy gladiator Joey Chestnut put a protester in a chokehold 🌭🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/G5F5PsBffa
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) July 4, 2022
me to joey chesnut haters pic.twitter.com/xWYD8bo7Kg
— jr (#KnoxHive) (@SlXTYMELO) July 4, 2022
Joey Chestnut manhandles protester before record 15th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest win pic.twitter.com/C86XxoRrg7
— New York Post (@nypost) July 4, 2022
Chestnut was lucky he didn’t choke on a hot dog when the guy shoved into him and that was also on the side of his injured leg.
But Chestnut grabbed the protester around the neck and body-slammed him, with a little help from another man, and then didn’t seem to miss a beat in the process, continuing to eat away at the hot dogs without a pause.
There were also two other protesters, you can see another one here getting hauled unceremoniously off the stage by a big police officer.
— Bobby Olivier (@BobbyOlivier) July 4, 2022
Despite the rude interruption, Chestnut was still able to put away 63 hot dogs. A bit off his record from the year before but still good enough for his 15th win. He beat his nearest competitor by 20 hot dogs, despite the protester.