Joey Chestnut is again the favorite to win Tuesday’s Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as he looks to capture the title for the 16th time.
Chestnut’s championship run was almost spoiled last year when an animal rights protester tried to disrupt the proceedings. But it was Chestnut, who on an injured leg, put the protester in a chokehold and took him down before he finished his 63 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.
Before the Fourth of July festivities kicked off, Major League Eating president Rich Shea told ESPN that Chestnut “claims he was about five hot dogs short because of that interruption.”
Chestnut holds the world record for most hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes with an astounding 76. He set the record at the Coney Island, New York, event in 2021.
He told TMZ Sports he was “feeling good” ahead of this year’s event.
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“I’m healthier than last year,” he said. “My leg’s feeling good. I’m happy. So, it’s gonna be a good Fourth of July.”
It’s unclear whether a new protest would come. Direct Action Everywhere, which took responsibility for last year’s disruption, told ESPN they couldn’t confirm whether another protest would take place.
“I can’t confirm whether a protest is planned, but I would love to see the animals’ perspectives continue to be elevated at this event that grossly objectifies their bodies,” Direct Action Everywhere spokesperson Cassie King said.
Security is reportedly expected to be increased for this year’s event. The women’s portion begins at 10:45 a.m. ET and the men’s at noon.