Joey Chestnut overcomes injury and protest to win Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest again

New York, New York - He's done it again! Even a painful leg injury and a mid-competition protest couldn't stop the legend that is Joey "Jaws" Chestnut from winning Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest for a record 15th time on Monday.

Joey Chestnut chomps his way to another victory at Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Joey Chestnut chomps his way to another victory at Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  © KENA BETANCUR / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

It's been a rough few months for one of the nation's most famous competitive eaters. But some things never change and despite all the setbacks, Joey Chestnut finished spent this year's Fourth of July like he always does: devouring more hot dogs than anyone else.

Despite being forced to compete on crutches while wearing a surgical boot due to a torn tendon, the 38-year-old still smoked the opposition in Coney Island. His final count of 63 was a good 20 more than his nearest competitor – although not quite as good as Joey's mind-bending effort from last year, when he set a new record of 76 hot dogs.

This latest victory came after the Kentucky native suffered both health problems and a personal tragedy. First came a serious compound leg fracture in December, then an even more painful development this June, when his mother passed away.

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There was even an unexpected complication during Monday's event, as an animal rights protester in a Darth Vader mask jumped on stage, with Joey on his 17th hot dog. Without missing a beat and still furiously chewing, the champion chomper chocked out the intruder and slammed him to the ground, before returning to the table and completing the win.

In the women's competition, Miki Sudo added an eighth title to her resume after gobbling up 40 hot dogs.

Cover photo: KENA BETANCUR / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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