CUSTER, S.D. -- A Fourth of July hot dog eating contest in South Dakota turned tragic when a contestant choked to death.
Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler told the Rapid City Journal that 47-year-old Walter Eagle Tail, of Custer, died Thursday at a hospital after attempts to save him failed at the scene.
"It all happened within minutes," Wheeler told the newspaper. "I think everybody was pretty well shocked about it."
The Custer Chamber of Commerce sponsored the contest. The group canceled a pie-eating contest scheduled for Friday.
Chamber Executive Director Dave Ressler said the group is "at a loss for words."
Speed-eating competitions are popular over the Fourth of July weekend. Eight-time champion Joey "Jaws" Chestnut managed to eat 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes at the annual Coney Island contest on Friday, eight short of the record 69 he swallowed in the 2013 competition.