Ex-champ arrested at hotdog shindig
A Japanese eating champion who sat out this year's Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog contest apparently could not resist the temptation to get in on the act - and ended up getting himself arrested.
Competitive eater Joey "Jaws" Chestnut gobbled his way to a fourth consecutive championship. But he was suddenly upstaged by the surprise appearance of his biggest rival - six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, who did not compete, but crashed the stage after Chestnut's win and wrestled with police.
"Let him eat! Let him eat!" the crowd chanted as police handcuffed the world's No. 3 professional eater, dubbed "The Tsunami."
The 32-year-old Kobayashi did not eat this year because he refused to sign a contract with Major League Eating - the fast-food equivalent of the NFL. On his Japanese-language blog, he said he wanted to be free to compete in contests sanctioned by other groups.
But a few days ago, he told Japan's Kyodo News: "I really want to compete in the event."
Kobayashi, wearing a black T-shirt that said "Free Kobi," mingled with the crowd watching the contest, standing inside a police-barricaded pen just under the stage. When the eating ended, he slipped up the stage stairs.
Then, several security officers appeared and tried to usher him off. He grabbed a metal police barricade with both hands, holding on tightly as the officers pulled at him. Finally, they dragged him down the stairs, with Kobayashi resisting vehemently.
He was under arrest, charged with resisting arrest, trespass and obstructing governmental administration
"There's a contract dispute, so they weren't giving him his freedom," said Kobayashi's interpreter, Maggie James.
Minutes earlier, Chestnut downed 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, televised live on ESPN. The runner-up was Tim "Eater X" Janus, with a total of 45. Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti came in third with 37 dogs.