A fun loving guy who just wanted to be a part of the 4th of July festivities in Custer, South Dakota got more that he bargained for last week.

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Custer, South Dakota has been holding a hot dog eating contest for the past few years as part of their 4th of July activities.  Contests like this have become pretty popular- you don’t hear of many people being injured while competing; which IS kind of surprising, considering how fast people are shoving buns and weiners down their throats.  Turns out, Custer’s last hot dog eating contest on July 3rd, 2014 may well indeed have been its last, as competitor Walter Eagle Tail, 47, choked and died during the event.

There was nothing paramedics could do when they arrived on the scene to revive Mr. Eagle Tail who sounded like a great, fun-loving guy.

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

McRae, who works for the Native Sun News weekly paper and occasionally sold jewelry with Eagle Tail at the Crazy Horse Memorial for three years, said Eagle Tail was a man who loved a good joke and helping friends in need.

At Crazy Horse, McRae said Eagle Tail had a knack for chatting up the customers who bought his bear claw necklaces.

"You could just see him smile and laugh. He was just an outgoing person," she said. "People, they would just smile at the things he was up to. He was just a character."

The pie eating contest that they were going to have the next day, was cancelled by the Custer chamber of commerce.

Rest easy, Walter.