One of the more stereotypically American things to spring up as a Fourth of July tradition in my hometown of New York is the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Each year, several contestants and several more spectators gather to watch competitors attempt to consume as many hot dogs as possible in a set time. It’s offensive and tacky and horrible and gross, but for some reason people really dig on it. It’s even become a sport, called, if you haven’t heard of it, Competitive Eating. At yesterday’s contest, the dominant winner of the contest over the past decade opted not to compete due to a contract dispute.
Of course, being a crazy Jerry Springer-esque affair, it didn’t end there. Takeru Kobayashi rushed the stage, where winner Joey Chestnut was being coronated. Police had to drag him away, and he was taken into custody. The competitive eating champ was charged with with resisting arrest, trespassing and obstructing governmental administration. Kobayashi was held overnight, and upon his release this morning, he made a brief statement:
“I’m really hungry. I wanted to eat hot dogs.”
It is unclear if the incident will affect Kobayashi, who was still wearing the “Free Kobi” shirt he wore during his arrest, in his future endeavors in competitive eating. But the organizers were displeased with his protest:
Event organizer Richard Shea said he hoped Kobayashi was able to sort out his legal troubles, but was “disappointed” in his shenanigans.
“I feel badly for everyone who worked so hard that the story today is all about this disruption,” he said.