Students tackle taco tournament:

5th St. Bar and Grill turns dinner into a competition

CAITLIN TAYLOR | Collegio Reporter

Taco Tuesday has been a familiar event at 5th
Street Bar and Grill, but recently the local hangout
has launched a taco-eating tournament that will last
until April 3.
The contest is the brainchild of Kyle Mullen,
the bar’s manager.
“The old record was 54 tacos in a two-hour time
limit, but since then it has been nearly impossible
for anyone to beat,” Mullen said. “And everyone
likes contests, so we decided to go that route.”
Mullen says the contest is based on the Nathan’s
hotdog eating contest, and the timeline is set up
like the March Madness for basketball.
“We started the qualifi er rounds last week, and I
participated just for publicity,” Mullen said. “Also,
it is really hard to eat 12 tacos fast.”
The qualifying rounds are held every Tuesday
with six contestants who have to eat 12 tacos as
fast as they can. Then the two fastest eaters for
each qualifying round will proceed to the fi nal
round on March 13.
“Anyone who wants to be involved is welcome,”
Mullen said. “Pretty much the fi rst six to
sign up and want to do it can do it.”
Winners in the qualifi ers receive a Budweiser
package, and the winner of the entire tournament
gets a bigger Budweiser package along with a
beach cruiser bicycle valued at about $200.
Eric Claudell, junior in manufacturing engineering,
was the winner of last Tuesday’s qualifying
round.

Justin Graham, left, junior in physical education, Larry Fleury, middle, senior in English, and Kevin Coker, right, alumnus, compete to enter into the taco eating tournament held at 5th Street on Tuesday.Photo by:Chris Medved/Collegio

Justin Graham, left, junior in physical education, Larry Fleury, middle, senior in English, and Kevin Coker, right, alumnus, compete to enter into the taco eating tournament held at 5th Street on Tuesday.Photo by:Chris Medved/Collegio

“I heard about the contest on the way in to the
bar, and we originally just came to eat,” Claudell
said. “My girlfriend and the waitress tried really
hard to convince me to participate, so I fi nally
agreed.”
Claudell says that it took him about seven
minutes to eat 12 tacos, good for the Budweiser
package of small items like shirts, koozies and leis.
But for the big tournament, Claudell says he
plans to be more prepared.
“The day before, I fi gure I would eat 10 pounds
of watermelon to help stretch out my stomach,”
Claudell said. “I think at the tournament I will be
able to eat about 20 tacos at least, maybe even
100.”
Justin Graham, junior in physical education,
was the second-place winner for last Tuesday’s
qualifying round.
“My friends were there and were trying to convince
me to join the contest,” Graham said. “It was
a little bit of peer pressure, but I told them that as
long as they paid for the tacos, then I would do it.”
Graham says that he was only 15 to 30 seconds
behind Claudell.
“It was like my third time going to Taco Tuesday
and I had never done anything like a tacoeating
contest before,” Graham said. “I had already
eaten fi ve tacos before the contest, then I ate 12,
and then I went home and ate a medium pizza. I
defi nitely could have kept eating, but it was diffi
cult to eat 12 tacos really fast.”
According to Mullen, the qualifying rounds will
keep going until March 13, when 16 fi nalists will
fi ll the bracket.
“We are trying to organize the contest to be
similar to the March Madness bracket, where the
16 fi nalists will face each other at the tournament,”
Mullen said. “It will be one-on-one at fi rst, and the
person who eats the most tacos in 12 minutes will
move on to the second round of eight fi nalists on
March 20.”
The eight fi nalists will compete in the same
fashion and the winners of that competition will
move on to the Final Four on March 27.
“We will have the fi nal competition, where it
will be the fi nal two fi nalists on April 3, which is
the day right after the championship for March
Madness,” Mullen said.
All the qualifying and tournament rounds will

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begin at 8 p.m. every Taco Tuesday.

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