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Taco teams face off at Rillito Downs
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Taco teams face off at Rillito Downs

  • Eric Huettner is crowned 'Taco-Eating Champion' after downing almost six tacos.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comEric Huettner is crowned 'Taco-Eating Champion' after downing almost six tacos.
  • Pork tacos from Tacos El Mar. The team brought home the award for best chicken taco in a former taco festival.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comPork tacos from Tacos El Mar. The team brought home the award for best chicken taco in a former taco festival.
  • A girl gets ready to take the plunge from the zip line.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comA girl gets ready to take the plunge from the zip line.
  • The Lucha Libre matches attracted shouts from the audience with every audible hit.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comThe Lucha Libre matches attracted shouts from the audience with every audible hit.
  • Serpiente Negra takes aim at his opponent in one of the days Lucha Libre wrestling matches.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comSerpiente Negra takes aim at his opponent in one of the days Lucha Libre wrestling matches.
  • Jerry Martinez waits in line for a lemonade. The sombrero actually belongs to his brother, Juan, who won the first chile-pepper eating contest of the day.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comJerry Martinez waits in line for a lemonade. The sombrero actually belongs to his brother, Juan, who won the first chile-pepper eating contest of the day.
  • Jorge Gastelun prepares a second batch of dirty tacos. The mixture includes chorizo, bell peppers, sirloin, sausage, and bacon.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comJorge Gastelun prepares a second batch of dirty tacos. The mixture includes chorizo, bell peppers, sirloin, sausage, and bacon.
  • The taco-eating contenders faced 25 hearty tacos within a five-minute time limit.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comThe taco-eating contenders faced 25 hearty tacos within a five-minute time limit.
  • Children took five-minute spins in gigantic hamster balls. There were no observed bouts of motion sickness despite the number of tacos consumed.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comChildren took five-minute spins in gigantic hamster balls. There were no observed bouts of motion sickness despite the number of tacos consumed.
  • Amanda Susnagara takes a break from clowning around to grab some chips and guacamole.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comAmanda Susnagara takes a break from clowning around to grab some chips and guacamole.
  • Loews at Ventana Canyon brought the pork and the whole pig to the grill.
    Mariana Dale/TucsonSentinel.comLoews at Ventana Canyon brought the pork and the whole pig to the grill.

Whether you fancied chile, chipotle, seafood or barbecue, there was a taco to fit the bill at Saturday’s premiere Tucson Taco Festival.

More than 20 teams made up of local and visiting eateries cooked, grilled, and fried well into the evening at Rillito Park.

Kids ran around with parents in tow, drawn to the large inflatable hamster balls, a zip line, and face-painting. Parents trailed behind, sipping margaritas and various Mexican beers.

The lines for many of the eateries stretched for at least 15 people in most cases. The wait for the “dirty taco” at Kbork had a queue of almost 50 people.

Owner Jorge Gastelun had to grill up a second batch of chorizo, sirloin, sausage, pork, bacon and bell peppers after selling out early in the afternoon.

The participants of the taco-eating contest didn’t have to stand in line, but faced a plate of 25 tacos. In the five-minute limit, even the champion, Eric Huettner, couldn’t finish his sixth taco.

The 19-year-old University of Arizona Civil Engineering student was drawn to the stage for one reason: “Free tacos,” Huettner said.

He kept his resolve and despite some hesitation in the last five minutes of the contest, Huettner avoided the lure of the puke bucket.

Tucson Taco Festival winners

Grand Champion

  • Blanco Tacos & Tequila

Reserve Grand Champion

  • Lodge on the Desert

Chicken

  • Seis Curbside Kitchen

  • Rubio’s
  • Guero Loco Bubba-Que

Pork

  • Rubio’s
  • 
Blanco Tacos & Tequila
  • 
Seis Curbside Kitchen

Beef

  • 
Lodge on the Desert
  • 
Guerro Loco Bubba-Que
  • 
Blanco Tacos & Tequila

Seafood

  • 
Sir Veza’s
  • 
Blanco Tacos & Tequila
  • 
Lodge on the Desert

Salsa

  • 
Fini’s Landing
  • 
Mexico City Kitchen

  • Loews Ventana Canyon

Guacamole

  • 
Mexico City Kitchen
  • 
Loews Ventana Canyon
  • 
Smokin’ Hot BBQ

Anything Goes Taco

  • Loews Ventana Canyon

  • Rubio’s

  • Q Up! BBQ

Best Booth

  • 
Fini’s Landing
  • 
Rubio’s
  • 
Tacos el Mauri

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