July 8, 2014 4:49 pm -

On the Fourth of July weekend, a South Dakota man choked to death during a hot dog eating contest.  The crowd at Way Park in Custer, just across from the county courthouse, was stunned Thursday afternoon when one of six contestants — Walter Eagle Tail, 47 — began to choke while trying to win the contest, the Rapid City Journal reports.

Paramedics tried to save him. Eagle Tail was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, where he died, authorities said.

Image: Rapid City Journal

Image: Rapid City Journal

“There was someone doing CPR when we arrived,” Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler said on Monday. “Basically, he probably just suffocated. It got lodged in his throat and they couldn’t get it out.”

“It all happened within minutes,” he added. “I think everybody was pretty well shocked about it.”

According to the Journal, Eagle Tail’s death put an end to some of the festivities sponsored by the Custer Chamber of Commerce. Organizers cancelled a planned pie eating contest for the next day.

“Walter was just being Walter, having fun when he entered this contest,” Ardis McRae said. “He was just having a good time.”

Custer Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dave Ressler said Eagle Tail’s death was the first time in memory anyone had gotten hurt during the few years the local contest has been held.

“We are at a loss for words,” he said. “We are mourning for Walter and his family right now.”

H/T: Agnostic Tech-God @ComgenKDT with thanks.


No responses to South Dakota Man Chokes To Death During Hot Dog Eating Contest

  1. Shades July 8th, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    My condolences to his family, but I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. These contests are insane.

    • edmeyer_able July 8th, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      Especially when there is hunger in the world.

    • Tommy6860 July 8th, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Agreed, contests like these are on par with those Jack-Ass stunts.

  2. tiredoftea July 8th, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Let the discussions of this being an “athletic competition” begin.

  3. RealAmerican July 8th, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Time to ban hotdogs, theyre leathal

    • tiredoftea July 8th, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Hot dogs don’t kill people, eating competitions do.

  4. mrsgunka July 8th, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    It’s easy for bread to stick in the esophagus, if fills up by them constantly swallowing the bun and hot dog without any liquid to break the sticky bun up. Instead of being able to swallow anymore, he inhaled instead of swallowing. A hot dog is about the size of an adult trachea and gets smaller as it goes down, thus lodging the hot dog and it does not disolve but gets more lodged. These contestants don’t chew enough and try to swallow it whole and it gets plugged. It’s why you don’t give hot dogs to small children who don’t have molars to chew it up and render it harmless if it gets stuck in the trachea. Simple anatomy and physiology. Sometimes grown men like to act like small children and try to defy A&P! Maybe they should stick to throwing dry cow pies and have a wet/dry one hidden in the pile to come back in their face….just hope they neither swallow or inhale! Or stick to riding mechanical bulls so they won’t be gored to death.

    • tiredoftea July 8th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      You know a lot about hot dogs!

      • mrsgunka July 9th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

        Especially trying to remove them from a trachea at any age.

    • gil reyes July 8th, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      You know Ms Gunka.. I don’t think it was a grown man trying to act like a child. I am of average intelligence and I did not know the info you posted. I know now. But I think this poor man was just having fun and probably didn’t know that info either. I don’t think its at all nice of you to act like he was just some idiot doing a childish thing. It was all in fun. At a time like this,for you to say that. makes you a horrible person. The family is in mourning and they have to hear crap like yours. Shame on you. You are a poor excuse for a human being to try and tell us this mans personality and you don’t even know him.

      • mrsgunka July 9th, 2014 at 4:11 pm

        I’m sorry if I offended you or his family. I have the utmost sympathy for his family. Have you ever been to one of these eating contests? It’s not a pretty thing, but most think it is pretty funny. Have you ever had a child choke on his food? Have you ever been in the ER and we are trying to get something that is caught in a trachea out so they can breathe? You don’t have much time and time is on the objects side and gets pushed further down the restricting wind pipe.. a tracheotomy isn’t pretty either if they are still alive when they get there….especially a small child who has choked on a hot dog or wad of bread or a small piece off a toy! It’s not fun to go out after they are dead and try to explain to the grieving parents that you couldn’t save their young child. And any adult who participates in this childish activity and isn’t told what could happen if they don’t chew the food correctly could end up with it being lodged in their windpipe and could die of asphyxiation. I guess I’m a horrible person then for trying to say what the doctor had to explain to the family after he died trying to stuff his face with hotdogs to win a prize. Maybe I should have said I was a nurse. I know about death and have seen things you have never even dreamed about and many were people doing childish things and not using common sense.

  5. FieryLocks July 8th, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Poor guy. My condolences to his family and friends 🙁