A Fresno man who died shortly after competing in a taco eating contest during a Fresno Grizzlies Triple-A baseball game choked to death, the Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office said Thursday afternoon.
The cause of death finding was announced following an autopsy on 41-year-old Dana Hutchings of Fresno.
A full autopsy report will be completed in about 30 days, a sheriff-coroner spokesman said.
Grizzlies: ‘We Are Devastated’
“We are devastated to learn that the fan that received medical attention following an event at Tuesday evening’s game has passed away,” Fresno Grizzlies President Derek Franks said in a statement Wednesday.
“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.”
The club also said that it had canceled the World Taco Eating Championship scheduled for Saturday. However, Saturday’s ninth annual Taco Truck Throwdown will continue.
Rushed by Ambulance to Hospital
Hutchings was taken from Chukchansi Park by ambulance to Fresno Regional Medical Center, where he was dead on arrival Tuesday evening.
Witnesses said that emergency medical technicians tended to Hutchings before paramedics arrived and tried to resuscitate him.
Tuesday’s competition was for amateur food eaters. During the 2018 World Taco Eating Championship at Chukchansi Park, professional eater Geoff Esper downed 73 tacos in eight minutes.
Eating Contests Gain in Popularity
Competitive-eating contests have become major attractions at festivals, sports games, and other events. Among the most popular is the annual Nathan’s Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest on New York’s Coney Island boardwalk, where this year’s champion, Joey Chestnut, ate 71 wieners and buns.
Watch: Highlights of 2018 Taco Truck Throwdown