Food & Drink

Get there early. Taco Truck Throwdown might be the most ‘Fresno’ event ever

2017 Taco Truck Throwdown crowns the judges’ champ

Fowler's El Mexicano taco truck, a participant since the first year, wins the 2017 Taco Truck Throwdown competition for the first time Friday night, July 28, 2017, at Chukchansi Park. All taco trucks return beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday for what is
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Fowler's El Mexicano taco truck, a participant since the first year, wins the 2017 Taco Truck Throwdown competition for the first time Friday night, July 28, 2017, at Chukchansi Park. All taco trucks return beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday for what is

Yes, Mike Osegueda has been to the Silicon Valley Music and Taco Festival.

But it wasn’t for any recon.

The event is in San Jose where he grew up and brings together two things that he’s long been passionate about. If there was any sense of sizing up the competition, it was tertiary at best.

“We’re not looking outside to figure out what’s cool to do,” says Osegueda, one of the organizers behind Fresno’s annual ode to tacos and music (and baseball), the Taco Truck Throwdown.

The two-day event happens Thursday and Friday at Chukchansi Park.

“Our event is our event,” Osegueda says.

“It has its own spirit, its own vibe.”

This year, that vibe comes courtesy of two disparate music acts: Norteño legend Ramon Ayala and hip-hop icon DJ Quik.

RamonAyala0920
COVER B2013 FRESNO 10/06/2013 DAC VIDA RAMON AYALA - Mexican great Ramon Ayala performs at The Big Fresno Fair on Oct. 6, 2013. A sold-out crowd packed the Paul Paul Theatre, where Ayala performed some of his greatest pieces. About 100 tickets were copied and distributed, leaving at least 50 paid spectators without a seat. B-1 01/01/14 Daniel Casarez Vida Staff Photo



It’s not what you’d call an obvious pairing, as a commenter pointed out on Instagram.

“LAMOO why tf would y’all have Ramon Ayala and Quik together lol.”

“Because we like to party,” was the reply.

They also know their crowd and their city. Fresno is a place where Ramon Ayala and DJ Quik are an equal part of many people’s lives.

And maybe it’s a bit unexpected, Osegueda says, but that’s right in the Throwndown’s wheelhouse. After all, who would have expected a taco event as a baseball promo? Or the team changing its name (and uniforms) to fit the theme? Or pairing the event with a legit taco eating competition and pitching it as the biggest thing in the world?

“We didn’t just do the Fresno taco eating challenge,” Osegueda says. “We did the World Taco Eating Championship.”

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut gobbled down 92 tacos in 8 minutes and was crowned the Taco Eating World Champion at Taco Truck Throwdown 7 on Saturday afternoon, July 29, 2017, in Fresno.

Some quick reminders

Pick your day Thursday is classic throwdown night, perfect for those wanting to enjoy their tacos with Tecate and a ballgame, though there will be DJs and music before and after the game. There is also the local qualifier for the taco-eating contest.

The winner competes against the pros on Friday.

Friday is concert night and the return of the The World Taco Eating Championship (once again sanctioned by Major League Eating, so expect some big-gun eaters). Festivities begin at 5 p.m. and will culminate with DJ Quik and Ayala headlining the night.

There are tickets good for both days available at the Chukchansi Park ticket office or over the phone at 559-320-8497.

Go early – This has been the go-to advice since year one. The sheer number of trucks (30-plus) should cut down on wait times, but if you’re serious about sampling you’ll want to beat the rush (especially for the popular trucks).

There are six to eight new trucks this year. Follow FresnoTacos on FB to see what trucks will be participating.

Get those vouchers – The Throwdown operates on a vouchers system. Vouchers are $2.50 each and good for one taco. Look for the voucher lines once you get inside the gate.

You can skip the lines altogether and buy in advance at the Chukchansi Park ticket office.

Mostly, just remember: cash and cards will not be accepted at trucks.

Think VIP – Organizers are offering a limited number of VIP ticket packages for day two of the event. The $75 tickets include front-row seating at the concert, plus eight taco vouchers, four drink tickets and a T-shirt. It also allows for taco delivery from one of eight truck, via a phone app called Ordrslip.

On a Fresno centric side note: Ordrslip was started at Bitwise Industries.

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Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

Taco Truck Throwdown 8

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