TOWER – Geoffrey Esper not only successfully defended his Indian Taco Championship belt, but he broke his own record by consuming 31-1/2 of them to hold off the likes of Joey “Jaws” Chestnut Saturday evening.
This beat his mark of 29 last year when he also held off Chestnut in the inaugural Indian Taco Championship at Fortune Bay Resort Casino.
“My jaws are tired,” said a gracious Chestnut after he walked off the stage. “I don’t know what it is, but my jaws are tired.”
That perhaps can be attributed to the texture of the Indian Taco, which consists of traditional taco meat on top, but the bread is deep fried and thus has more mass for a person’s jaws to break down.
However, Esper, an Oxford, MA resident, did just fine as he beat Chestnut and Zaire, Africa native Gideon Oji by a whopping eight tacos in the extremely fast-paced event.
Esper, who works at a vocational high school, said he had the culinary team cook Indian tacos for him leading into the event.
“I did two practice sessions and that really helped me prepare for this event,” said Esper, who won $2,500 and a championship belt for his efforts. “It’s a different kind of food so it is difficult to prepare for.”
Due to the fast pace of the contest, it took Sullivan awhile to tabulate the results.
“This is easily the hardest contest I ever had to judge,” said Major League Eating’s Master of Ceremonies Mike Sullivan. “There was food everywhere, fruit punch everywhere— it was insane!”
Insane was definitely a great word to describe that action inside The Woodlands Ballroom as 10 contestants—including Fortune Bay’s IT director Alex Cook and Bois Forte Reservation Tribal Council member Pete “Chief” Boney—did their best to consume as many tacos as they could in eight minutes.
Cook ended up eating eight tacos, while Boney could only down three. Boney tricked Sullivan by playfully placing one of his tacos on Cook’s plate when he wasn’t looking and then someone apparently added more as Cook’s total went from eight to two and a half tacos.
“Let’s give it up for Chief Boney,” said Sullivan as he mistakenly reported that Boney topped Cook’s tally to win the internal championship. “Where’s chief? He’s so modest, I guess he didn’t want to get the glory.”
One person who did get the glory and bragging rights over the more well-known Chestnut was Esper.
“Joey is really good, but he can’t be good all the time,” said Esper. “His performances on the 4th of July (at Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest) are unbelievable. I just try to catch him on the downswing and I’ve beat him twice up here now.”
When asked if he’ll come back for a three-peat in 2019, Esper didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I would love to come back and win this again,” said Esper.