Joey Chestnut shows no rust as he downs 57 hot dogs in competition at Fort Bliss

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut was nowhere to be found at New York’s Coney Island as he was forced out of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Thursday due to his relationship with another brand.

With fences still damaged days before the competition, Chestnut took his talents to Fort Bliss, Texas, for his Fourth of July feast and competed against Army soldiers.

He showed no signs of rust.

Chestnut ate 57 hot dogs and buns, outdoing four competitors combined, who tallied 49 hot dogs and buns in total.

Chestnut’s mark, achieved in only five minutes, nearly beat out the tally of the man who won the famed mustard belt earlier on Thursday in New York, Pat Bertoletti. The new Nathan’s champion finished 58 hot dogs — nowhere close to the record of 76 that “Jaws” Chestnut set in 2021.

Chestnut was initially barred from the competition because of a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, which specializes in plant-based alternatives to meat products. Major League Eating has since walked back the ban, but Chestnut decided to go to Fort Bliss.

Joey Chestnut sign


Major League Eating CEO Rich Shea commended Chestnut during the ESPN broadcast of the Coney Island contest.

“Just a great competitor, a great guy, a grown man, and a man who’s made a choice not to be here today,” Shea said. “But fortunately for us, tens of thousands of people are crowding around Nathan’s Famous. It’s a pilgrimage every year. This is not a paid Hollywood crowd. This is excitement.”

A few hundred fans showed up in Texas to support Chestnut.

“I love you guys,” he said, as he acknowledged the military service of his father, grandfather and brother. “You guys pushed me so hard, thank you so much.”

Joey Chestnut in 2022

The event at Fort Bliss was sponsored by Impossible Foods, though the vegan products were not used in the competition. Impossible Foods CEO Peter McGuinness presented Operation Homefront, a charity that supports military families, with a $106,000 donation check.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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