Fan dies after taco-eating contest at Fresno Grizzlies baseball game

Chukchansi Park is the home of the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League
Chukchansi Park is the home of the Fresno Grizzlies.
(Getty Images)

A man participating in a taco-eating contest at a minor league baseball game in Fresno died Tuesday night after officials say he began choking on his food.

Dana Hutchings, 41, of Fresno was eating tacos as part of the contest between innings at the Fresno Grizzlies game against the Memphis Redbirds at Chukchansi Park when he started to choke, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tony Botti said.

“It’s just very sad,” Botti said.

Fans at the game told the Fresno Bee that the man collapsed on the ground in the middle of the contest, which was being held on Taco Tuesday as a precursor to Saturday’s ninth annual Taco Truck Throwdown at the stadium.

Emergency medical technicians initiated the Heimlich maneuver and CPR before paramedics arrived. Hutchings was taken to Fresno Regional Medical Center, where he died, officials said.


Authorities have not determined the man’s cause of death, but officials suspect he may have asphyxiated. An autopsy is expected to be performed this week, Botti said.

In a statement Wednesday, Grizzlies President Derek Franks said the organization was “devastated” by the death.

“The Fresno Grizzlies extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to the family of Mr. Hutchings,” Franks said. “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.”