Joey Chestnut: 5 Things About Record-Breaking Hot Dog Eating Winner Who Choked Out A Protester

He's the greatest eater in the history of mankind. Joey Chestnut won the Nathan's 2022 Hot Dog Eating Contest by downing a 63 hot dogs -- but had to stop a protester in the middle.

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Image Credit: SARAH YENESEL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Who is Joey “Jaws” Chestnut? He’s the most famous hot dog eater in the world! The 38-year-old left fans across the world completely speechless when he downed a record 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes at Nathan’s 2022 held at Maimonides Park on Coney Island. He didn’t beat his record from last year, which was 76 hot dogs — forcing a win by 26 dogs.

Joey Chestnut once again won the contest. (SARAH YENESEL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

There was good reason, though: a protester dressed like Darth Vader attempted to interrupt the competition with a sign, jumping over the barricade. Joey quickly put the protester in a chokehold before security could remove the man.

Joey also had a number of obstacles to overcome: he suffered a compound fracture of his right leg requiring two surgeries and nearly two weeks in hospital back in December. Beyond that, he also injured a tendon in a right leg, and arrived to NY in a cast. In May, he tested positive for COVID-19, forcing him to drop out of a doughnut eating competition. As if all of that wasn’t a mountain to wade through, he lost his mother in June, which he told media through tears.

“This is new ground for me, having to deal with this,’’ he said during a pre-competition interview. “[My mom] wouldn’t want me to miss the contest…It’s definitely going to be a closer contest than it was last year,’’ he added.

Joey is truly unmatched when it comes to hot dog eating contests. Surprisingly the event still took place this year amid the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic while many other related ones were canceled or pushed back to a later date.

This isn’t his first contest win

Joey won his very first Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2007, defeating champion Takeru Kobayashi. He won every year until he was beaten by Matt Stonie in 2015. Since that one shocking loss to Matt, Joey has yet to be beaten again in the annual hot dog eating contest on July 4. Joey has become the face of eating contests.

He has no plans to retire

“I know eventually I will give it up for one reason or another,” Joey told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY. “Either if I have a family eventually. If I want to live a more normal life and can’t travel as much or if ever my health changes or if I have a health issue that would be a reason. But I would love… I mean these past three years I have been trying to eat healthier and running more and I hope I can continue that trend so I could prolong this as long as I can because I have had a normal job and I have had to answer to bosses and have had nasty emails and checked schedules and changed orders and I mean I could go back to all of that!”

He’s open to his kids following in this footsteps

When asked whether or not he’ll train his kids in competitive eating, Joey told HollywoodLife: “I don’t know about training them but I would tell them to do whatever makes them happy and I chose a degree I wanted to do and a company I wanted to work for and it made me happy and then it grew into something I would have never imagined so I think do whatever makes you happy. Always try new things and never close any doors.”

He once proposed to an ex at the competition

Right before winning the Nathan’s 2014 Hot Dog Eating Contest, Joey proposed to his longtime girlfriend. Sadly, they split in early 2015.

He doesn’t eat just hot dogs

Joey is a professional eater. He’s competed in eating contests of grilled cheese sandwiches, waffles, burgers, wings, pizza, macaroni and cheese, bratwursts and more. What a life!

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