FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A minor league baseball team in Central California has canceled Saturday’s scheduled World Taco Eating Championship after the death of a 41-year-old man during a taco-eating contest.
The Fresno Grizzlies announced the cancellation Wednesday. However, the team said the event known as the Taco Truck Throwdown, featuring taco trucks and musical entertainment will go on as planned.
Dana Hutchings died during an amateur taco eating contest Tuesday night.
Mathew Boylan, who watched Tuesday’s contest, says he noticed Hutchings because he was eating much faster than the other two contestants. He told the Fresno Bee that Hutchings appeared to be swallowing the tacos without chewing them.
Boylan says Hutchings collapsed about about seven minutes into the contest and hit his face on a table as he fell to the ground.
Fresno Grizzlies spokesman Paul Braverman says the team is “devastated to learn” of the death of a fan in a taco-eating contest. He says officials with the minor league baseball team will provide any information that is helpful to investigators.
Fresno County sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti says Hutchings died shortly after arriving at a hospital.
Botti says an autopsy will be done Thursday to determine a cause of death. It was not immediately known how many tacos the man had eaten.
During the 2018 Taco Eating Championship in Fresno, professional eater Geoff Esper downed 73 tacos in eight minutes.