A 47-year-old competitive eater DIED during a hot dog eating competition in South Dakota on July 3rd ... after choking on one of the hot dogs.
Walter Eagle Tail was participating in a 4th of July weekend contest at Way Park in Custer, SD when witnesses say he began to choke.
Paramedics were called to the scene and tried to help ... but they were too late.
Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler told the Rapid City Journal, "There was someone doing CPR when we arrived ... Basically, he probably just suffocated. It got lodged in his throat and they couldn't get it out."
Wheeler added, "It all happened within minutes."
In the wake of Eagle Tail's death, event organizers canceled a pie eating contest scheduled to take place the following day.
Hot Dog Eating Contest
MAN CHOKES TO DEATH
... During Competition
7/8/2014 8:54 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
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