Most people think of an athlete as someone who runs, throws, jumps, shoots or rides. But, Joey Chestnut is an athlete in a sport of a different kind….eating.
Chestnut won his first contest in 2007 when he devoured 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes to win Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and the coveted “bejeweled” mustard yellow belt. He has since earned more than 40 other titles and shattered world records. Some of his wins include apple pie, asparagus, chicken wings, donuts, eggs, gyros, pastrami, shrimp cocktail, and Twinkies.
But, there was one thing Joey Chestnut had never eaten….
“I’d never eaten red beans and rice before I started getting ready for this contest,” he said of the Blue Runner World’s Red Beans and Rice eating championship that was held Saturday (February 8) in New Orleans.
According to Chestnut, preparing to consume large amounts of red beans & rice in a short period of time can be tough, but not for the reasons that you might think. The southern staple is a runnier food than Chestnut and his competitive eating comrades are used to.
“It’s a very fast food,” he said. “Yesterday and the day before, I had very little solid food, so it’s pretty much a cleanse to make sure that I’m absolutely empty and loose.”
Chestnut went on to win the contest, beating out 12 other competitors by consuming 40 bowls in 8 minutes and earning himself $1500 and a new world record. In case you’re wondering, 40 bowls of red beans and rice equals 24 lbs. 11 oz. or 36, 268 calories, according to Chestnut.
I am here in the great cultural city of New Orleans and I came to smash the record for Red Beans and Rice.24lbs and 11 ounces in 8 minutes. Or ~36,268 calories.Also a new world record!
What exactly what goes through a competitor’s mind when they’re in the throes of competition?
“I think about all the little things, my rhythm, my breathing, sitting up straight, the swallow,” Chestnut said. “A lot of people when they’re eating in these contests forget to breathe. And then when they forget to breathe, they have to breathe through their mouth, and when you’re breathing through your mouth, then you’re not eating at all.”
Watch Joey Chestnut’s Blue Runner World’s Red Beans and Rice eating championship winning moment below.