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Challengers licking lips for taco-eating 'chomp'ionship

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We’re headed down the backstretch this week in the taco eating chompionship — and we do mean chomp — that will result in some lucky gorger waddling away with a top prize of a 37-inch flat-screen TV.

Tacos Chava, the popular Mexican restaurant in the Wenatchee Valley Mall, hosts the final heats of its month-long eating competition — Tacos Chava’s 3rd Annual Taco Eating Contest (a mouthful in itself) — this Friday and next. The event has been held on Fridays in July with each week’s winner headed for the final round set for Saturday, July 27.

All taco-chomping challenges will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Taco Arena, actually a spread of dining tables set in the mall entryway right outside the restaurant. Cheering sections of about 30 to 40 taco-burrito buffs have attended. Prizes will be awarded to the three final winners.

So far, the top taco nosher has downed eight regular tacos in 87 seconds, about one every 11 seconds. Salvador Tobar, who owns the restaurant with wife Oralia, said last year’s winner — “not a big guy, kind of skinny” — gulped down 31 tacos. The exact time has been lost to history, however.

“It was more than a few minutes,” said Tobar. “But he ate very fast. I don’t see how he could do it.”

Details: Tacos Chava, Wenatchee Valley Mall, East Wenatchee. 886-5838.