Joey Chestnut won the Fourth of July hot dog eating competition once again and even managed to deal with a rogue protester.

Joey Chestnut wolfed down 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes on Tuesday (AEST) to win the annual July 4 competitive eating contest featuring America’s quintessential cookout food on Coney Island in New York.

Chestnut has now won 15 times but he fell way short of the record he set in 2020 when he downed 76 hotdogs, buns included, also in just 10 minutes.

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So he apologised to the crowd and said he would do better next year.

There was a bizarre moment when an animal rights protester wearing a Darth Vader mask made their way onto the stage and rushed at Chestnut.

The 38-year-old responded by putting the activist in a headlock and slamming them to the ground.

Chestnut didn’t miss a beat, executing the chokehold mid-bite before returning to his pile of hot dogs.

His altercation with the protester went viral on social media and has racked up more than seven million views on Twitter.

Chestnut said he trains by eating hot dogs often and taking part in eating contests featuring them about once a week.

After his virtuoso performance, he said he will not touch food again for a day.

Chestnut was the undisputed winner of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, finishing far ahead of the field.

Second place went to one Geoffrey Esper with 47.5 franks and buns, and third to Australian James Webb at 41.

“Joey Chestnut is a force from beyond who defies the laws of physics,” contest host George Shea said.

In the women’s category, Miki Sudo triumphed with 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Sudo returned after sitting out last year because she was pregnant. This time she showed off her new baby. She fell short of her record of 48 franks.

Competitors from all over the world tend to dunk their hotdogs in water or soda to make them easier to swallow in such rapid succession without gagging.

“The Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest is arguably the most iconic sporting event in American history,” Shea said.

“The event is a crucible through which greatness is forged.”

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