Home / Sports / Man dies after competing in amateur taco eating contest during Fresno Grizzlies game, Saturday's championship was canceled

Man dies after competing in amateur taco eating contest during Fresno Grizzlies game, Saturday's championship was canceled



FRESNO, California (KFSN) – Tragedy hit the ballpark last night when the man who was leading a taco-eating championship suddenly suffocated and died.

The Grizzlies have now canceled a professional taco-eating championship scheduled for Saturday.

The rest of this weekend's Taco Truck Throwdown event will continue, as planned.

Dana Andrew Hutchings loved sports and had fun, so a taco-eating contest in the middle of a Fresno Grizzlies game seemed like the perfect combination for him.

These tacos would be his last meal.

"He apparently began to suffocate, so Fresno Grizzlies medical personnel rushed over, began giving him first aid and then handed him over to the US ambulance," said Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's and Coroner's Office.

Paramedics tried to clear food from Hutching's airway, but he died less than 30 minutes later.

He had made a strong impression before his death and shared his strategy with fellow fans at the game.

"He said he would take part in a taco-eating contest and didn't eat all day to make himself a winner," Eric Schmidt said.

He says that Hutchings also mentioned that he was diabetic and had a few beers, so he offered the man some food, but Hutchings saved himself for the competition.

And when the competition showed up on Jumbotron, the strategy seemed to work initially.

"He won," said Schmidt. "I mean, he was hungry, can you say. My son and I stood there like," oh, there is the guy. "And he won because he was starving."

But then he stopped eating.

Schmidt saw him try to chew some more and then the big video screen went dark.

He saw paramedics working at Hutchings in a hurry and found out later that they could not save him.

The victim's medical history and whether he was diabetic will be part of the county council's investigation.

"Everyone says he choked on food, so we have it as a starting point," Botti said.

An autopsy Thursday could determine his cause of death, but toxicological reports can take a month or more.

Hutchings family remembers the 41

-year-old for his love

"My brother Andrew was a funny guy," Mecca Hutchings told Action News. "He had a great sense of humor and liked to make people laugh. He was an avid supporter of Fresno State."

He leaves two teenage children.

Fresno Grizzlies team president Derek Franks announced Wednesday that the World Taco Eating Championship will be canceled after the fatal event.

Franks released this statement after Hutching's death:

"We are devastated to know that the fans who received medical attention after an event at Tuesday night's game have passed away. Fresno Grizzlies extends our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Hutchings family. Our fans are safety and security is our top priority. We will work closely with local authorities and provide all useful information requested. "

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