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Featured, some of the members of the winning teams, judges, and community leaders who participated in the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg competition held on Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2, 2017 at H-E-B Park in Edinburg. The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, was a major financial sponsor of the event, which draws hundreds of visitors to Edinburg. Front row, from left: Proudly sporting their  team red outfits are Myranda Johnson with Road Crew BBQ, Lauria Franklin Kelley with Road Crew BBQ; Gary Kelley with Road Crew BBQ; and Ross Kelley with Road Crew BBQ, whose team from Sinton, Texas was the Texas Cook ‘Em Overall Champion for 2017; and Jerry Cárdenas with Loaded Smoke of Raymondville, the Reserve Grand Champion for the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA); Michelle Dang, Judge with the Steak Cookoff Association (SCA); and Fred Robles with Rio Valley Meat of Weslaco, Grand Champion of the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA). Featured, middle row, from left: Marty Martin with Rio Valley Realty and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; J.J. Flores with Chorizo of San Manuel and Member, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Ashley Tapia, Assistant, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Judy Tapia, Assistant, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Eddie Tapia, Head Judge, International Barbeque Cookers Association; Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing and Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Stephanie O. Larralde with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Ambassador, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Michelle Gallaway, Judge, Steak Cookoff Association; and Sara Treviño, Secretary, International Barbeque Cookers Association. Featured, back row, from left: Martín Rivas, Director of Membership, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce; Imelda Rodríguez, Director of Tourism, Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau; Brett Gallaway, Judge, Steak Cookoff Association; Roddy Treviño with Roadster BBQ and 1st Place Winner in the H-E-B Steak Challenge; and Jake Barrera, Judge, International Barbeque Cookers Association.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
 

Featured: Joe González, Manager, H-E-B Rio Grande Valley Meat Market, provides expert advice to help contestants select rib-eye steaks for the premier portion of the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, held at H-E-B Park in Edinburg on Saturday, July 2, 2017. The steak selection was a process by which the teams chose their meat for the day-long competition, which drew 127 teams from Edinburg, the Valley, Texas and beyond. Initially done by a lottery, the teams then lined up in numerical order based on that lottery and picked their steaks. The Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) is the sanctioning body for the steak portion of Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. The SCA requires the event to provide the same high-quality steaks for equal competitive opportunities for all the teams.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
 

Featured, Mike Eli, vocals/guitar for the Eli Young Band, performs as part of the final featured act on Friday, July 1, 2017 during the two-day 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks at Edinburg, held at H-E-B Park in Edinburg. An estimated 2,000 people bought tickets to that evening’s concert, which included two of Edinburg’s own talented musical performers – Matt and the Herdsman (http://www.mattandtheherdsmen.com), and Southern Ashes (https://www.facebook.com/SouthernAshesMusic/). The turnout for the concert that evening does not include people at the adjacent Edinburg Municipal Park who showed up to see the fireworks display during the concert. The following day, on Saturday, July 2, 2017, an estimated 3,000 people bought tickets to see the the world-class barbecue competition, as well as to enjoy many other activities going on that day, including another concert. 

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

Featured: Hundreds of fans of Los Lonely Boys cheer for the San Angelo-based “Texican Rock n’ Roll” band, which combines elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown-eyed soul, country and Tejano, on Friday, July 1, 2017 at the amphitheater of H-E-B Park in Edinburg. Los Lonely Boys were one of two national acts which performed on the first evening of the two-day 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. H-E-B Park opened earlier in 2017. H-E-B Park is described on its web site as “the premiere sports and entertainment destination and focal point for the entire community. H-E-B Park serves as a community hub of outdoor space for active and recreational use including sports, live music, and corporate events.” H-E-B Park, which is privately owned and which is located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road, boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings. The building permit issued for H-E-B Park represents the initial investment for the stadium, at that time valued at $16.8+ million, but the total financial worth of H-E-B Park, which is the name of the stadium and the fairgrounds with all improvements and assets, now that this outdoor sports and entertainment complex is open, is much higher.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

••••••

Edinburg EDC: Thousands who attended 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg at H-E-B Park saw first-hand why the community is becoming a “Destination City”

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

An estimated combined 5,000+ local residents, including hundreds of visitors from throughout the Valley, Texas and beyond continued to help grow Edinburg’s reputation of being a “Destination City” during the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg over the July 4, 2017 holiday weekend, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

“Destination City”, the term that the Edinburg EDC is helping promote to increase business and job growth and tourism, is generally defined as city which in and of itself is an attraction, and in the case of Edinburg, because of the city’s high-quality of life, sports and other entertainment venues, retail, restaurants, and other generators of commerce, advanced public education, including a University of Texas major campus and School of Medicine, cultural activities and other major interests.

The Edinburg EDC, of which Agustín García is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related.

The 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, of which the Edinburg EDC was a major financial sponsor, is organized by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce as one of the major fundraising and public affair events it holds throughout the year to benefit its members and city residents.

“The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce celebrates Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg during the July 4th weekend in Edinburg. Competitors battle on the grill to cook the best chicken, ribs, brisket and rib-eye for money and a year’s worth of bragging rights,” according to chamber leaders. “Texas Cook ‘Em is the Valley’s biggest barbeque purse awarding $30,000 to the winners. Texas Cook ‘Em is also the first and only steak cook-off sanctioned by the International Barbeque Cookers Association (IBCA) and the Steak Cookoff Association (SCA) in South Texas.”

In addition to the championship-caliber cook-off, the event also features fireworks, live music, a family fun zone, and more.

This year, the event drew 127 teams, including between 40 and 50 teams from outside of the Rio Grande Valley.

“For the first time, it was held at the H-E-B Park fairgrounds in east Edinburg, which provided valuable exposure to one of the latest crown jewels of Edinburg. In previous years, Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg was held at Edinburg Municipal Park, but this was an excellent opportunity to showcase H-E-B Park to thousands of people, and by doing so, continue to promote our city as the place to live, work, raise a family, go to school, and build a business,” said Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García.

H-E-B Park, which is privately owned and which is located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road, boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings.

The building permit issued for H-E-B Park represents the initial investment for the stadium, at that time valued at $16.8+ million, but the total financial worth of H-E-B Park, which is the name of the stadium and the fairgrounds with all improvements and assets, such as the outdoor amphitheater, the 37-acre site and all other amenities, now that outdoor sports and entertainment complex is open, is much higher.

H-E-B Park, which opened on March 22 2017, is further described on its web site as “the premiere sports and entertainment destination and focal point for the entire community. H-E-B Park serves as a community hub of outdoor space for active and recreational use including sports, live music, and corporate events.”

Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing and Special Events for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, said H-E-B Park almost certainly impressed people who attended the two-day event.

“Some of the reactions were they were stunned, they were amazed, they didn’t even know this venue existed, and some of those who attended the event live in our own Rio Grande Valley. Of course, the people who came from outside of Edinburg were in awe with H-E-B Park,” said Larralde. “It was a perfect venue for our event. We were able to showcase what type of entertainment and sporting events that we can host here, and to see what Edinburg is going to bring in the future, not only with H-E-B Park and the soccer stadium, but also with the $88+ million Bert Ogden Arena scheduled to open at the beginning of 2018.”

One of the more valuable public construction projects in Edinburg’s history took a major step forward in January 2017 with the issuance of a building permit, valued at $80 million, for the city-owned, 190,000 square foot Bert Ogden Arena, Agustín García explained.

“The Bert Ogden Arena is being designed to host a variety of entertainment events, including sporting events such as basketball, concerts, family shows, and trade shows. Once completed, tentatively scheduled to open in January 2018, the total investment for the Bert Ogden Arena, a first-class indoor multi-purpose center being built at the corner of Interstate Highway 69-Central and Alberta Road in east Edinburg, will reach an estimated $88.3 million – possibly higher – and will serve as a major economic development engine for that region of the city,” Agustín García continued. “The Bert Ogden Arena, which will have parking for 2,856 vehicles, is part of a 49.57 acre site with plans by a private investment group to build – next to or near the arena – nine pad sites that will add millions of dollars in value to that upscale commercial development. Those pad sites represent one million square feet of property for new businesses.”

Larralde, who played major roles in organizing the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg characterized H-E-B Park as outstanding.

“One of the competitors said he was pumped, just so excited that Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg was being held at H-E-B Park. The facilities here are first-class. Our teams and their families and friends appreciated having access to indoor, air-conditioned restrooms, which included a family room for their youngest children,” Larralde reflected. “In addition, our staff and volunteers were able to comfortably station ourselves and use all the amenities of this tremendous complex, thanks to H-E-B Park, and that helped very much. H-E-B Park is very secure and built very efficiently, so the competition and all the activities were better organized and situated. Everyone loved it.”

The “bottom line,” Larralde emphasized, “is that because of the cook-off, the concerts, and all the activities taking place at H-E-B Park, our residents did not have to travel out of town for the 4th of July holiday in order to find great entertainment and outstanding food, and it resulted in thousands of visitors to our community, who generously spent a lot of money in Edinburg.”

••••••

For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

••••••

Transcription of interview featuring Ronnie Larralde regarding 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg

The following Question and Answer session has been edited for grammar and content.

QUESTION

Is Texas Cook’Em– High Steaks in Edinburg an annual event?

RONNIE LARRALDE
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING AND SPECIAL EVENTS
EDINBURG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Yes, and this one was the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. It was held on Friday, June 30, 2017 and Saturday, July 1, 2017 at H-E-Park in Edinburg.

QUESTION

What roles did you play in helping organize the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg?

RONNIE LARRALDE

I was the event organizer for Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, which is one of the major festivals held under the umbrella of the Edinburg Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, which is part of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Together with our Cook’Em committee I helped from beginning to end which can include, booking bands, entertainment, vendors, getting cooking teams, solidifying sponsors, marketing and so much more. It is a lot of work but it’s great for Edinburg.

(The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce was created in 1932 to lead the effort in advancing commerce and the quality of life in Edinburg and the region. In April 2001 the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors approved a motion allowing a divisional name change from the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce – Tourism Division to what’s now called the Edinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. Primary funding for the Edinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau is through an overnight accommodations tax in the City of Edinburg. The city approved annual budget is set every fiscal year which runs October 1 through September 30. Other income is derived through state assistance programs when available, and cooperative marketing programs. It is the mission of the Edinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau to provide leadership in initiating as well as coordinating the marketing of Edinburg throughout the world as a highly desirable vacation and convention destination; to solicit and serve conventions and other related group business; and to engage in visitor promotions which generate overnight stays for Edinburg , thereby, enhancing and developing the economic fabric of the community.
Source: http://www.edinburg.com/aboutthecvb.html)

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce is governed an 18-member Board of Directors, and these individuals oversee the Chamber of Commerce and the Edinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg, the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce featured the following leaders, along with their respective business affiliations and their positions on the 18-member governing board:

• Jacob De León
Memorial Funeral Home
Chairman of the Board

• Letty González
Edinburg Chamber of Commerce
President

• Marty Martin
Rio Valley Realty
Immediate Past-Chair

• Alex Ríos
Kids’ Kollege Learning Center
Chair-Elect
Vice-Chair of Leadership Edinburg

• Elva Jackson Garza
Edwards Abstract and Title Co.
Vice-Chair of Public Affairs

• J.J. Flores
Chorizo de San Manuel, Inc.
Vice-Chair of Special Events

• Hiren Govind
Best Western Plus – Edinburg Inn and Suites
Vice-Chair of Tourism

• Michael J. Williamson
PlainsCapital Bank
Treasurer

• Lucy Canales
Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP
Director

• Mario Lizcano
Doctors Hospital at Renaissance
Director

• Lee Castro
Legacy Funeral Home
Director

• Verónica Gonzáles
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Director

• Jennifer Garza
Edinburg Regional Medical Center/
South Texas Health Systems
Director

• Rey Garza
H-E-B Edinburg #2
Director

• Sergio González
Rosie’s Flower Shop
Director

• Robert Lucio
Bert Ogden Dealer Group
Director

• Gregory Martin
Martin Farm & Ranch Supply Inc.
Director

• Dina Araguz
International Bank of Commerce
Director
 
• Richard Molina, Director
Odyssey Primary Home Care
Director

QUESTION

What were your initial estimates on the attendance for the two-day event for each individual day?

RONNIE LARRALDE

I would say there were probably about two thousand people who bought tickets to attend the concert held at the amphitheater at H-E-B Park on Friday night, and that figure doesn’t include people who were at Edinburg Municipal Park, which is next to H-E-B Park, who showed up to see the fireworks display that evening. The following day, on Saturday, there were about three thousand people who bought tickets to see the the world-class barbecue competition, as well as to enjoy many other activities going on that day, including another concert.

The attendance figures for both days also include children, who were allowed into H-E-B Park for free as long as they were with their parents or guardians.

QUESTION

So the estimated total attendance was around 5,000 people for the two-day event. How did that number compare to previous years?

RONNIE LARRALDE

We had a higher attendance than previous years for the major concert, which on Friday evening featured two national headline groups – Los Lonely Boys and the Eli Young Band – as well as local talents Matt and the Herdsmen and Southern Ashes.

We also tied or record of contestants in the barbecue cookout completion with 127 teams, and we hope to attract as many as 150 teams next year. After seeing the magnitude of the new venue (H-E-B Park), I believe we can reach 150 teams.

QUESTION

Total cash prizes, that were divided by the top winners in the four categories of cooking, was $30,000 (thirty thousand dollars)?

RONNIE LARRALDE

That is correct, and it was divided by 60 winners since we awarded money to the top 15 teams in each of the four categories. Those categories in the competition were Chicken, Ribs, Brisket and our signature category, the Rib Eye Steak. The Rib Eye Steaks used in the competition were provided by H-E-B, which is also the namesake of H-E-B Park. It’s only fitting to provide quality H-E-B steaks for a world class competition.

QUESTION

How many teams were from Edinburg, from the Valley, and from elsewhere?

RONNIE LARRALDE

There were about 25 teams from Edinburg, and the rest of the 127 teams came from other parts of the Valley and the state. About 40 to 50 of those teams were from outside of the Valley.

QUESTION

This was the first time Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg was held at H-E-B Park, which opened on March 22 2017. In previous years, it was held at Edinburg Municipal Park. H-E-B Park opened earlier in 2017. H-E-B Park is described on its web site as “the premiere sports and entertainment destination and focal point for the entire community. H-E-B Park serves as a community hub of outdoor space for active and recreational use including sports, live music, and corporate events.” H-E-B Park, which is privately owned and which is located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road, boasts a $16.8+ million, 9,735-seat professional soccer stadium as part of the 37-acre site with all amenities, an amphitheater with a capacity of 2,000 people, well-lighted parking, and security and medical personnel for major gatherings. What did first-time visitors to H-E-B Park think of this new venue?

RONNIE LARRALDE

Some of the reactions were they were stunned, they were amazed, they didn’t even know this venue existed, and some of those who attended the event live in our own Rio Grande Valley. Of course, the people who came from outside of Edinburg were in awe with H-E-B Park.

It was a perfect venue for our event. We were able to showcase what type of entertainment and sporting events that we can host here, and to see what Edinburg is going to bring in the future, not only with H-E-B Park and the soccer stadium, but also with the $88+ million Bert Ogden Arena scheduled to open at the beginning of 2018.

(One of the more valuable public construction projects in Edinburg’s history took a major step forward in January 2017 with the issuance of a building permit, valued at $80 million, for the city-owned, 190,000 square foot Bert Ogden Arena. The Bert Ogden Arena is being designed to host a variety of entertainment events, including sporting events such as basketball, concerts, family shows, and trade shows. Once completed, the total investment for the Bert Ogden Arena, a first-class indoor multi-purpose center being built at the corner of Interstate Highway 69-Central and Alberta Road in east Edinburg, will reach an estimated $88.3 million – possibly higher – and will serve as a major economic development engine for that region of the city. The Bert Ogden Arena, which will have parking for 2,856 vehicles, is part of a 49.57 acre site with plans by a private investment group to build – next to or near the arena – nine pad sites that will add millions of dollars in value to that upscale commercial development. Those pad sites represent one million square feet of property for new businesses.)

One of the competitors said he was pumped, just so excited that Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg was being held at H-E-B Park.

The facilities here are first-class. Our teams and their families and friends appreciated having access to indoor, air-conditioned restrooms, which included a family room for their youngest children.

In addition, our staff and volunteers were able to comfortably station ourselves and use all the amenities of this tremendous complex, thanks to H-E-B Park, and that helped very much.

H-E-B Park is very secure and built very efficiently, so the competition and all the activities were better organized and situated. Everyone loved it.

Having the amphitheater for our outdoor concerts, during both evenings of the event, was also a great draw for music lovers. Plus it was a beautiful evening on Friday to enjoy the fireworks and the top talent which performed that evening, and the following night.

Bottom line is that because of the cook-off, the concerts, and all the activities taking place at H-E-B Park, our residents did not have to travel out of town for the 4th of July holiday in order to find great entertainment and outstanding food, and it resulted in thousands of visitors to our community, who generously spent a lot of money in Edinburg.

We are still finalizing numbers about the economic impact of this year’s Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. But among some of our initial findings is that we did have a good number of visitors, especially the teams and their families, stay in our Edinburg hotels.

On other financial levels, we will be analyzing sales relating to Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg by some of our other local businesses, such as Aguilar’s Meat Market and Vera’s King O Meats Inc., which were among the supporters of this event. They were selling out of meat – and we are talking about prime cuts of beef – because of the cook-off competition. Of course, H-E-B, according to Rey Garza, director of H-E-B No. 2 on Freddy González Drive, they were excited, too, because they had record sales for that weekend.

We are talking about prime, high-quality, expensive meat, so these local businesses were excited with the event, and it’s always a plus for them. Of course H.E.B., they had from what I believe from speaking to the director, Ray Garza, director from H.E.B. #2, they had record sales for that weekend of the competition. H-E-B is one of the proud supporters of our steak event and one of our prime sponsors for Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg.

QUESTION

A big event such as Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg generates positive publicity and builds on the excellent reputation of Edinburg as a “Destination City”.

RONNIE LARRALDE

Yes, we did put a big strong campaign through all the publicity outlets – social media, radio, television, newspapers, which were good marketing strategies put into place way in advance of Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg. We invested about $15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars), which was helped made possible by our partners, including the $10,000 investment by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

People came from all over the state and beyond not just for the concerts and the cook-off, but many of these visitors did a lot of shopping locally, visited our restaurants, stayed in our hotels, which also increased local sales tax revenue for our community during that important holiday weekend.

We estimate Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg generated about two months of effective marketing for the event and for Edinburg as a “Destination City”.

That excellent exposure, plus the positive word-of-mouth that will be created by the teams and their families and friends who came to Edinburg, should bring more competitors and more fans next year to what will be the 13th Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg.

QUESTION

Who was the overall grand prize winner of the 12th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg?

RONNIE LARRALDE

His name is Gary Kelley of Sinton, Texas, with his team Road Crew BBQ, winning Overall Grand Champion. They took home close to $5,000 in total prize money. They represented Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks in Edinburg at The 2017 American Royal World Series of Barbecue®, which was held over the Labor Day weekend at the Kansas Speedway.

Mr. Kelley placed second in the Steak competition and 2nd in the Brisket competition, which made him the Overall Grand Champion, which earned him $2,500 (two thousand five hundred dollars), plus additional winnings for placing 2nd in Steak at $1,500(One Thousand Five Hundred) and 2nd in Brisket worth $800 (eight hundred dollars) apiece. That brought his total winnings to $4,800 (four thousand, eight hundred dollars).

QUESTION

Who were the individuals and teams which placed as top winners in their respective categories, and where are they from?

 RONNIE LARRALDE

Overall Grand Champion: Gary Kelley with Road crew BBQ (Sinton);
Grand Champion, International Barbeque Cookers Association: Fred Robles with Rio Valley Meat (Weslaco);
Reserve Grand Champion, International Barbeque Cookers Association: Jerry Cárdenas with Loaded Smoke (Raymondville);
H-E-B Steak Challenge, 1st Place Steak: Roddy Treviño with Rodstarr BBQ (Kingsville) ;
International Barbeque Cookers Association, 1st Place Brisket: Jerry Cárdenas with Loaded Smoke (Raymondville);
1st Place Pork Spare Ribs: Danny Luera with INHOGNITO (Pharr); and
1st Place Chicken: Ram Benítez with 2 Brothers BBQ (Kingsville).

Kids Cook’Em Cook-Off

1st Place Pork Chop(6-12 yrs): Nataly Vélez with Smokin Toros (Brownsville); and
1st Place Pork Chop (13-16yrs): Dion Fuentes with Smoking Onions (San Antonio).

 QUESTION

Will this major event be held at H-E-B Park next summer?

RONNIE LARRALDE

We would love to host it there again. Just like every event, we need to go back and do a follow-up with our committee and the board of directors in order to continue to be successful.

QUESTION

Since the beginning, Texas Cook ‘Em – High Steaks has been held at the Edinburg Municipal Park. Did the event, which began with 50 teams its first year, finally outgrow the city-owned park, and that is one of the reasons it was moved to the privately-owned H-E-B Park?

RONNIE LARRALDE

Yes, the event did outgrow the Edinburg Municipal Park.

For example, in the recent past, we had 94 teams that actually fit in the parking lot at Edinburg Municipal Park. But for the rest of the competitors, we had to spread them out into other areas, which made operating and managing the competition more difficult. At H-E-B Park, we are able to effectively accommodate 150 teams, which is one of our ultimate goals.

At H-E-B Park, we enjoyed many other advantages, including for our vendors because they already had site pads equipped for electricity and water, and even in the parking lot, there was some electrical and water services for our cooks, too.

In addition, we were able to provide public safety through a strong presence by the Edinburg Police Department, the Edinburg Fire Department, and Valley EMS.

We also had more than 50 volunteers at the event, and that number does not include the leadership and staff of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and that number also does not include the judges for the competition, which represented an additional 300 volunteers.

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