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Chestnut relishes new hot dog competition as Nathan’s goes on without him

Last Updated 1 week by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The fastest eater in the West (and Westfield, for that matter) is finally talking frankly about the split in competitive eating.

Through social media and a new exclusive interview, Joey Chestnut insists he’s looking forward to wolfing down hot dogs more than 2,000 miles away from the event that first vaulted him to fame.

“The 4th wouldn’t be the same if I wasn’t celebrating by eating a whole lot of all-beef hot dogs!”, Chestnut writes in new posts on Instagram and X.

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The mention of “all-beef” may surprise those who have followed the sponsorship squabble between Chestnut and the organizers of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog eating contest. To catch up: Chestnut now endorses the “Impossible” brand, which has no beef — or any meat, for that matter — in its lineup. The Nathan’s event did not invite Chestnut this year, ostensibly because it views “Impossible” as competition.

Instead, Chestnut is taking on four soldiers at Fort Bliss, Texas. Unlike the Nathan’s competition, where it’s every eater for himself and herself, the Army base challenge pits Chestnut against all four troops at once.

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Chestnut served up his first extended comments about the Nathan’s controversy this week through an interview with Sports Illustrated. In it, the man known as “Jaws” declined to bite the hand that long fed him.

“I don’t think the (Major Laeague Eating founders George and Rich) Shea brothers are bad people,” the story quotes Chestnut as saying. “I’m not burning any bridges. And I love it—I love the Fourth of July and that contest. I’m always willing to try. I don’t hold grudges. So nothing is out of the question.”

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Chestnut also comments about another upcoming competition, which will pit him against fellow Nathan’s castoff Kobayashi on Labor Day.

“He’s very competitive, and very serious, and I’m excited. This is the guy that drove me—we drove each other to crazy limits, and we’re going to push each other again, finally. And finally there aren’t things in the way.”

If you want to watch Chestnut’s Fort Bliss challenge, he’s set to stream it live on his YouTube channel starting at 5pm.