Is Joey Chestnut losing his edge? After again chewing his way to second place at the National Buffalo Wing Eating Championship, whispers about Chestnut’s ability to perform outside the ‘dog are beginning to grow louder. Are Chestnut’s best days behind him? Is he a one-trick pony? Despite downing 244 wings, a title-less Chestnut is likely feeling empty inside.
— George Shea (@gcshea) September 5, 2021
Competitive eaters from around the globe flocked to Orchard Park, NY for the wing-eating competition, and female phenom Miki Sudo topped Chestnut in one of the closest competitions in recent memory. Sudo consumed 246 wings in 12 minutes, while Chestnut was able to stomach only 244 over the same time frame.
Chestnut has now lost by two wings for a second consecutive competition. After it was over, Chestnut praised Sudo, though he also seemed to question his own work ethic, per WGRZ: “She’s a great eater. I felt myself getting lazy, and I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m getting lazy.’ And you know what? I paid for it. I didn’t follow all the way through. There’s no better place to have a chicken wing contest than the home of the Buffalo wing.”
Sudo relied on fundamentals to top crowd favorite Chestnut: “I really just focus on technique. I slow myself down on purpose, to get as much meat off as possible instead of moving through quickly. Towards the end, I slowed down a bit because the wing sauce was really intense. The flavor hit me in the face.”
Though he failed to claim this year’s title, don’t expect Chestnut to fly away from the wing competition.
“It feels great to be back in Buffalo, eating chicken wings again,” he said. “I wish I ate a little more. This is the second time in a row I lost by two wings, but I’ll be back next year.”
For Chestnut, this could be the minor setback that inspires a major comeback.