U.S. Man Chokes to Death in Hot Dog Eating Competition

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 9, 2014 2:53 PM EST

A middle-aged U.S. man died after he had choked on a hot dog during a competition.

The incident took place in South Dakota when 47-year-old Walter Eagle Tail took part in a hot dog eating competition on the Fourth of July eve. According to witnesses, Walter started to choke while eating one of the hot dogs. Even though paramedics rushed to the spot, it was too late for them. Someone had already started doing CPR before the paramedics could arrive. Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler said that it was not possible to get the hot dog out that choked Walter's throat. Everything happened "within minutes," he said.

REUTERS/Eric Thayer
Contestant Sonya Thomas competes in the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York July 4, 2014. Hurricane Arthur dampened many Independence Day plans but didn't wash out the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York, where a slate of men and women professional eaters competed for purses of $20,000.

Walter was taken to hospital where he passed away. Dave Ressler, the executive director of the Custer Chamber of Commerce which organised the contest, said that they were "at a loss of words." There was a pie-eating contest scheduled to be held on the next day. However, the contest was cancelled after Walter's death. "We are mourning for Walter and his family right now," Ressler said.

Walter's friends described him as a kind, caring and fun-loving person. It was simply because of the fun part of the competition that he took part in it, one of his friends said. Walter apparently enjoyed good jokes while he used to help his friends whenever they needed it. Walter, an outgoing person, used to make people smile. "He was just a character," his friend said.

Eating competitions have started becoming a part of the popular culture in recent past. Travel Channel's popular reality show "Man v. Food" portrayed similar competitive eating. The show, which premiered on U.S. television in December 2008, was hosted by Adam Richman. The host used to go to different U.S. cities to compete in eating challenges which often involved massive eating.

Joey Chestnut became a national celebrity in the United States after his successful stints in competitive eating. According to the International Federation of Competitive Eating, he is the number one competitive eater in the world.

Reference: Rapid City Journal

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Eric Thayer / )
Contestant Sonya Thomas competes in the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York July 4, 2014. Hurricane Arthur dampened many Independence Day plans but didn't wash out the annual Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island, New York, where a slate of men and women professional eaters competed for purses of $20,000.
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