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Forget Joey Chestnut, this 73-year-old contestant was the real hero of the Hot Dog Eating Contest

There was one hero during the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest that exemplified the grit and determination that makes America great: Rich “The Locust” LeFevre.

Proving that age is just a number, Rich LeFevre entered the contest after eating 30 hot dogs in a qualifier in Las Vegas. A longtime eater, LeFevre has been eating competitively for over two decades — but this year he became the oldest person to ever compete in the contest.

There was a stunning lack of coverage for LeFevre during the competition, as cameras remained locked on Chestnut, but true fans knew their hero was there — waiting just off screen. It took a disappointingly long time to get the result, but finally we did.

Tenth! Despite being the oldest competitor in the field, he finished faster than people much, much younger than him. This is the kind of inspiration we need more of in America.

There’s a lot more to LeFevre’s story than meets the eye. His wife, Carlene, qualified for the women’s competition as well. The couple are known as “The First Family of Competitive Eating” and have competed alongside one another for years.