Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019, a man died after competing in a taco-eating contest at a minor league baseball game. The taco-eating contest took place at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California. The game was between the Fresno Grizzlies and the Memphis Redbirds.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department identified the man as Dana Andrew Hutchings, age 41. Hutchings collapsed and the team’s on-site medical staff and paramedics attended to him, according to s spokesperson for the Fresno Grizzlies.
Hutchings died shortly after being transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.
The sheriff’s department said they were not ruling a cause of death, but they have an idea. ABC 30 reported that Hutchings was leading the taco-eating contest when he suddenly choked and died.
“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,” according to Tony Botti with the Fresno County sheriff’s and coroner’s office.
Paramedics attempted to clear food out of his airway, but he died less than 30 minutes later.
Before the contest, Hutchings shared with Eric Schmidt that he had not eaten all day in preparation for the competition. He also told Schmidt that he was diabetic and had drank a couple beers during the game.
Watching the competition on the Jumbotron showed that Hutchings’ strategy was working at first. Schmidt said that Hutchings was winning. He could tell he was hungry. Then, he stopped eating. According to Schmidt Hutchings tried to chew some more, and then the Jumbotron went black.
Hutchings’ medical history and whether he was diabetic will be part of the county coroner’s investigation.
The Thursday autopsy could determine Hutchings’ cause of death; however, toxicology reports could take up to a month to return.
“We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening’s game has passed away. 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.” This was released in a statement from the president of the Fresno Grizzlies, Derek Franks.
Chukchansi Park was supposed to host the World Taco Eating Championship on Saturday, Aug. 17, during the annual Taco Truck Throwdown event. The competition is officially sanctioned by Major League Eating, a group that organizes professional eating contests, however, the group was not part of the Tuesday night taco-eating competition.
Currently, tickets for the Taco Truck Trhowdown. Nonetheless, according to a spokesperson for the Fresno Grizzlies, the taco-eating contest portion of the annual Taco Truck Throwdown has been canceled.
It was reported to ABC 30, by his brother, that Hutchings loved sports and having a good time, so the taco-eating contest in the middle of a baseball game was ideal for him.
Hutchings leaves behind two teenage children.
By Jeanette Smith
CNN: Man dies after taco-eating contest at California baseball game
ABC 30: Man dies after competing in amateur taco eating contest during Grizzlies game, Saturday’s Championship cancelled
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