Taco contest feeds St. Mary’s fundraisingTen teams took the field Tuesday night at Norm’s Beer and Brats during Taco Madness. Only one emerged from the pile of shells and fixings victorious.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Ten teams took the field Tuesday night at Norm’s Beer and Brats during Taco Madness. Only one emerged from the pile of shells and fixings victorious. Adam Herubin, April Herubin, Jeff Koenen and Joe Noponen, under the team name “Touch My Taco,” tucked away a total of 136 tacos, earning them bragging rights, stomach aches and a free home tailgate party.
The event also raised about $1,000 to fight breast cancer through the annual Lake Superior Dragon Boat Festival. Norm’s Beer and Brats hosted its first dragon boat team this year.
“We saw how much fun it was,” said Manager Tina Anderson, and how deserving the cause was. This year, money went toward purchasing a new digital mammography machine at St. Mary’s Hospital of Superior.
“We wanted to do more than one thing a year,” to raise money, Anderson said.
The idea for the event grew out of the popularity of the bar’s Tuesday night taco feed, which offers 25 cent tacos. Norm’s has held taco-eating contests before for fun, but this one was different. It allowed teams of four, instead of three. Because the money was going to fight breast cancer, Anderson said, one member of each team had to be female.
The night started with friendly rivalry and a fierce hunger – for victory and tacos.
“We’ve been stretching our stomachs all day,” said Adam Herubin. “It’s for a good cause and we’re hungry.”
Chris Carlson of Duluth, a member of the “Mexican’ts” team, was full of confidence as the event began.
“We came here and had tacos before,” he said. “They’re pretty small.”
Noponen said the tacos were not very filling, more “like chips and salsa.”
The “Toca mi Taco” team competed because they were such big fans of the tacos. They’ve never been involved in one of Norm’s taco-eating contests.
“I always wanted to,” said Christina Garvey of Duluth. She and co-workers from the Duluth International Airport have even held their own amateur taco-eating contests at Norms.
Tacos came out in boxes of 20 Tuesday to the music of the Gipsy Kings. Teams could add hot or mild sauce, but the box had to be empty before they got a new one.
“Touch My Tacos” found an early competitor in the “Bottomless Pits” – Superior residents Sue Passero, Maria Roberts and Clint Roberts and Eric Twald of Duluth. The teams matched each other box for box until they got to the end of box four. At that point, the Pits started to slow down.
“That’s a lot of tacos,” said Jim Ross of Superior, a Pit fan. “I eat four tacos, I’m done for the night.”
Nearby, the Ta Ta Taco team was still on box three.
“Don’t worry, when everyone else is full, we’ll still be going,” said Shelley Barker.
“We’re the only ones pacing ourselves,” agreed her teammate Amanda Peterson.
In the final minutes of the 94-minute contest, sponsored by 94.1 FM and Miller Light, “Touch my Taco” managed to pull off the win by four tacos.
Anderson said Norm’s plans to hold another Taco Madness event in the spring, with the proceeds again going to fight breast cancer.
April Herubin, who managed to hold down 27 tacos, may not be there. While she would take on a wing or pizza-eating contest, she said she’s done with tacos for a while.