A South Dakota 4th of July hot dog eating contest turned tragic when a contestant choked to death.
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,” Rick Wheeler said.
“He probably just suffocated. It got lodged in his throat and they [paramedics] couldn’t get it out.
A South Dakota 4th of July hot dog eating contest turned tragic when a contestant choked to death
“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 4th 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.
Funeral arrangements were pending for Walter Eagle Tail, whom friends described as a fun-loving, kind and caring man.
Macy’s has decided to move Joan Jett and her band off the South Dakota tourism float in its Thanksgiving Day parade after ranchers complained about having a vegetarian and animal rights advocate representing their state.
“I’ve decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people’s political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event,” Joan Jett said in a statement.
“I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition.”
Orlando Veras, Macy’s parade spokesman, told The Associated Press that a new performer for the South Dakota float will be announced later.
He said that the annual parade in New York City is about entertainment, not advocacy, and that Macy’s was making the change “to prevent any further distraction from our entertainment mission”.
“The Parade has never taken on, promoted or otherwise engaged in social commentary, political debate, or other forms of advocacy, no matter how worthy,” Orlando Veras said in a statement.
“Macy’s intention is only to provide a range of entertaining elements and performers free of endorsements or agendas.”
Macy’s moved Joan Jett and her band off the South Dakota tourism float in its Thanksgiving Day parade
Some South Dakota farmers and ranchers voiced concern about the choice to put Joan Jett on the float because she is a supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which promotes a vegetarian diet and criticizes livestock production practices.
South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association President Cory Eich, who farms and ranches near Canova in eastern South Dakota, said Friday that he thinks it was a mistake to select Joan Jett because her stands don’t mesh with the state.
“Coming from such a rural state where livestock is such a part of our life, we didn’t think it was appropriate,” he said.
Cory Eich said his association “didn’t go looking for a fight,” but once Joan Jett’s affiliation with PETA was brought to the group’s attention, officials felt they had to respond accordingly.
“I wish it never would have gotten brought out,” he said.
Dan Mathews, PETA’s senior vice president, said that he’s happy with the publicity generated by the controversy.
“Thanks to South Dakota’s reactionary ranchers, people across the country have learned why Joan Jett supports PETA,” Dan Mathews said.
“The meat trade can’t stand any scrutiny of its cruelty,” he said.
South Dakota Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen has said that many people mistakenly assumed state officials selected Jett to appear on the float. None of the artists the state proposed were available or willing to appear in the parade, so Macy’s selected Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, he said.
The state pays $175,000 to support the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and have a float in the event, and $5,000 of that goes to pay expenses for the artist on the float, officials have said.
The South Dakota float, which has appeared each year since 2010, features Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Black Hills and more.
Don McLean appeared on the float last year. Previous years’ entries featured Neil Diamond and Mannheim Steamroller.
More than 3 million people are expected to watch Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the streets of New York, with more than 50 million watching the event on television nationwide.
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South Dakota became the first state to enact a law allowing school districts to arm teachers and other school staff.
The law’s backers say it will prevent mass school shootings like a December massacre in Connecticut that killed 26.
Amid a push by the White House to strengthen gun laws, the bill reflects a growing divide in the US over whether more or fewer guns keep people safe.
The measure does not force school districts to arm teachers and will not require teachers to carry guns.
But it allows each school district to choose if staff could be armed. It takes effect in July.
South Dakota became the first state to enact a law allowing school districts to arm teachers and other school staff
Under the Republican-sponsored bill, school staff given permission to carry firearms on campus will be known as “school sentinels”. The state has given a law enforcement commission the task of establishing a training programme for the sentinels.
Several representatives of school boards, teachers and other staff spoke against the bill in legislative hearings, arguing guns would make schools more dangerous.
Sponsor Representative Scott Craig said this week had heard from a number of school officials who back it.
Scott Craig said rural districts do not have the money to hire full-time police officers.