World Taco Eating Championship canceled in aftermath of Taco Tuesday tragedy.
The Fresno Grizzlies announced the cancellation of the World Taco Eating Championship in the aftermath of the death of a 41-year-old man choking to death during an eating contest on Tuesday at the downtown Fresno stadium.
Dana Hutchings, 41, died during an amateur taco eating contest during a minor-league baseball game between the Grizzlies and the Memphis Redbirds on Tuesday night.
An autopsy determined Hutchings choked to death, said Tony Botti with the Fresno County sheriff’s and coroner’s office. Toxicology reports might take a month or more.
“He apparently began to choke, so Fresno Grizzlies medical staff rushed over, started to give him first aid and then turned him over to American Ambulance,” Botti said.
Paramedics tried to clear food out of Hutchings’ airway, but he died less than 30 minutes later, Botti said.
Hutchings leaves behind two teenage children.
“My brother Andrew was a fun-loving guy,” Mecca Hutchings told ABC30 in Fresno. “He had a great sense of humor and liked to make people laugh.”
The World Taco Eating Championship, which was first held at Chukchansi Park in 2017, was scheduled to be part of The Taco Truck Throwdown, an event that includes 30 taco trucks and entertainment, according to the Triple-A baseball team.
“We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening’s game has passed away,” said Fresno Grizzlies team president Derek Franks in a statement. “The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings. The safety and security of our fans is our highest priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide any helpful information that is requested.”
James Ward covers entertainment, news, sports and lifestyles for the Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register. Follow him on Twitter. Get alerts and keep up on all things Tulare County for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.
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