STREAM FOX 17 NEWS AT 9PM AND 10PM

STREAM FOX 17 NEWS AT 9PM AND 10PM

  • WATCH NOW

    11/25/14 08:58:44 PM

    We're live now! Tune in to FOX 17 News at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. We're covering the Nashville demonstration in support of Ferguson, Ferguson protests around the country and other news. click here for more

WZTV - Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Man Chokes to Death at South Dakota Hot Dog Eating Contest

Stream WZTV Fox 17 Newscasts LIVE starting with Fox 17 This Morning at 5am and News at 9pm.

CUSTER, S.D. -  A Fourth of July hot dog eating contest in western South Dakota turned tragic when a contestant choked to death.

SEE ALSO: Man Captures Amazing Drone Footage of Nashville 4th of July Fireworks

Walter Eagle Tail, 47, of Custer, died at a hospital Thursday after attempts to save him at the scene failed, Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler told the Rapid City Journal.

"There was someone doing CPR when we arrived," Wheeler said. "He probably just suffocated. It got lodged in his throat and they (paramedics) couldn't get it out.

"It all happened within minutes," the sheriff said.

The Custer Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the contest, canceled a pie-eating contest scheduled for Friday.

"We are at a loss for words," Chamber Executive Director Dave Ressler said. "We are mourning for Walter and his family right now."

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 an annual contest in Coney Island, New York, on Friday -- eight short of the record 69 he swallowed in the 2013 competition.

George Shea, chairman of Major League Eating, a competitive eating organization based in New York, said organizers do all they can to prevent casualties during contests.

"We always make sure it's in a controlled environment," Shea said. "We organize the entire thing around safety. (Just as) if it's football or hockey or auto racing, we approach it as a top priority."'

Funeral arrangements were pending for Eagle Tail, whom friends described as a fun-loving, kind and caring man.

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

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

DOWNLOAD OUR APPS:

NEWS: iPhone/iPad | Android
WEATHER: iPhone | iPad | Android
MORNING: iPhone/iPad | Android

Follow us on Twitter @wztv_fox17 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates.