Update: Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest NOT Cancelled

UPDATE: Hartman appears to have confirmed the confirmation on Twitter with the following.

“Devastated,” he writes. “Eat a hot dog for me.”

UPDATE #2: ABC7NY has confirmed the cancellation of the event.

UPDATE #3: Megabyte Ronnie is now saying the event will continue at 2 pm EST!

Update #4: Joey Chestnut said during his post-win interview that the eaters were at one point told the contest was canceled.

The NYPD has officially canceled this year’s Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest due to safety concerns. At the moment, Coney Island is experiencing a heavy lightning storm that may not stop until around 8 pm tonight. The crowd has been told to disperse, and there is no word on when it will be rescheduled or if it will be rescheduled.

This information is based on the closing moments of the following live feed from Coney Island courtesy of DutchMazz. In it, you can hear him relay what the police are telling the crowd waiting for the event to start and see them begin to disperse.

This is bad news for all fans of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, a yearly July 4 tradition for many Americans. Joey Chestnut has become a legend in his own right, racking up fifteen wins at the event, and was expected to secure his sixteenth this year. Another name that pro wrestling fans may know from the event is “Megabyte” Ronnie Hartman, who told Haus of Wrestling last month that, due to injury, he would not be competing this year.

“When I retired from wrestling, I was like, ‘Alright, well, I gotta find something else to do.’ So I’m just gonna dive right into hot dog season; Fourth of July is right around the corner,” Ronnie said. “I did one hot dog practice, and I got like, I don’t know, 5 or 10 hot dogs in, and I just, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it at the ability I needed to do it in order to qualify this year.

“So, I’m not gonna put my body through all that trying to get ready when I’m not going to be able to qualify with the shape I’m in right now. As I said before, it’s hard for me to imagine ever not wanting to be there on the Fourth of July. So, I’ll be back at it next year, for sure, but I just have to take care of this first.”

However, thanks to a last-second wild card qualifier, he got into this year’s competition. Hopefully, he’ll get a second bite of the hot dog, and the event will be rescheduled for sometime soon.