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.
Featured, front row, representing Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg, the Edinburg City Council, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, include, from left: City Councilmember Homer Jasso; Juan Luis Mussenden, General Manager, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg; Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (immediately behind Peter Higgins); Mayor Richard García, who also serves as President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and City Councilmember Richard Molina. These leaders were among the several hundred area residents who participated in the Wednesday, July 19, 2017 ribbon-cutting of the five-star, multi-million dollar restaurant, located at the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The restaurant is just off U.S. Expressway 281 in the heart of Edinburg. Bob’s combines a lively atmosphere, fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops and seafood to make Bob’s the best steak house in any town. Known for their prime filets, Bob’s only serves prime beef, hand-selected from the top two percent of all beef, perfectly trimmed and expertly grilled. Bob’s also offers delicious sides and desserts made from scratch, and included with every steak, their famous pickles, choice of potato and signature big glazed carrot. Letty González, President of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, shared community leaders enthusiasm for Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg. “We are excited to welcome our new member to Edinburg,” said González. “Bob’s is a beautiful and unique dining experience that will be unparalleled in our area. This is just an indication of all the great things going on in Edinburg.”
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
Featured, from left: Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, congratulates Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak and Chop House in Edinburg, following the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the restaurant, which took place on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. “Edinburg’s restaurants are fantastic, and they serve phenomenal food, great meals, you name it. Now, having an elite restaurant like Bob’s Steak & Chop House changes the image for the entire South Texas region. This is the first nationally-recognized five-star restaurant in Edinburg and deep South Texas,” said García. “Bob’s has a nationally known reputation. By doing well in Edinburg, it will once again prove that our region can support, and deserves, the very best life has to offer.” Higgins heaped praise on deep South Texas. “People have asked me several times recently, ‘Why Edinburg, Texas?’ Well, I’ll tell you why. It is a tremendous growth environment,” Higgins said. “If you look at the city itself with its growth, a new Hidalgo County Courthouse that will be built, several world-class hotels, a nationally-ranked university with a School of Medicine, and the Bert Ogden Arena and H-E-B Park near our site – well, the list goes on and on.”
Featured, from left: Jaime Cazares, District Sales Manager, Ben E. Keith Foods; Debra Stolley; Roger Stolley, NAI Rio Grande Valley (Commercial Real Estate Services Worldwide); Byron Jay Lewis, President and CEO, Edwards Abstract and Title Co., and Peter Higgins, Managing Partner, Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg, seated inside the Lenox Lounge in the multi-million dollar five-star restaurant, located at 591 East Trenton Road in Edinburg, at the Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley. The Lenox Lounge, part of the approximately 9,000-square-foot facility, is named in honor of William “Bill” W. Lenox, former president of the Bob’s Steak & Chop House national chain of fine dining establishments. Lenox, who died on Friday, January 20, 2016, was the key player in bringing the restaurant to Edinburg. According to his obituary, published in the Dallas Morning News, “Lenox, known for his entrepreneurial success, generous spirit and engaging character, passed away after suffering a heart attack at his home in Vail, Colorado. He was 70.” (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dallasmorningnews/obituary.aspx?pid=183988366)
Featured, from left: Precinct 1 Hidalgo County Commissioner A.C. Cuellar, Jr. of Weslaco; Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García; Mayor Richard García; Councilmember J.R. Betancourt; and Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina. This image was taken on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in the Council Chamber of Edinburg City Hall.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
The Mayor and Edinburg City Council on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, gave their initial approval to provide a maximum of $30 million – to be spread out over up to 30 years and without raising the city property tax rate – to help in the construction of a $150 million Hidalgo County Courthouse, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. If all goes as planned by the county, construction on the courthouse may begin near the end of this year, if weather permits. The county anticipates a completion date of October 2018. The action took place following a 2 p.m. joint work session with the Hidalgo County Judge and Hidalgo County Commissioners Court, held in the Council Chamber of Edinburg City Hall, and sets into motion a plan that will eventually lead to the construction of a state-of-the-art judicial center, which will be located in downtown Edinburg, next to the current county courthouse complex.
Featured, from left: Harvey Rodríguez, Vice President, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors; Ellie M. Torres, Secretary/Treasurer, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors; Nelda Ramírez, Assistant Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and Agustín García, Jr. Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, on Monday, December 14, 2015, when the EEDC hosted a holiday celebration for area residents at its headquarters, located at 101 North 10th Avenue. Photograph By DIEGO REYNA
By his own admission, Harvey Rodríguez, the Vice President of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, says as a younger man, the thought of serving on a city board was not even a passing thought, even though today, his leadership roles in public service also include his status as chairman of the Recreation and Park Board in Edinburg. “Did I ever feel that I would be 33 years old and be serving on the EEDC Board of Directors? If you asked me 10 years ago, there was no way,” said Rodríguez, the youngest appointee on the five-member EEDC Board of Directors. “But I relish this opportunity. I appreciated everyone who supported me through it, and now I have a chip on my shoulder to show that I am extremely capable. I wake up with that attitude every day.” The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. The mayor and the EEDC executive director are not related. Rodríguez, selected last May by Mayor Pro Tem Homer Jasso, Jr., for a two-year term on the influential EEDC governing board, said his appointment should serve notice to younger adults in the city that their ideas and experiences are essential to the successful running of municipal government and business development in Edinburg. With more than 50 percent of Edinburg’s estimated population of 77,100 aged 29 years and younger as of 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – and more than 20 percent of the city’s population made up of residents aged 18 to 29 years – Rodríguez inspires residents as young as high school students to set their sights high, beginning with becoming involved with as many role models, community leaders, and business officials as possible. “I always encourage every high school student that if you can get a college scholarship anywhere, they have to go,” said Rodríguez. “There is a lot more outside of the Valley that I exposed myself to through college and travel, so I always tell people to go out there and meet new people.” But don’t stop there, his advice continued. “As cliché as it may be, I would tell them not to take no for an answer,” emphasized Rodríguez. Rodríguez, whose extensive professional credentials include currently serving as South Texas Operations Manager for CAS Companies, LP, took his experience and insights on behalf of the city to a major convention, held in early November 2015 in Dallas, of the International Council of Shopping Centers. Mayor Pro Tem Jasso, along with City Councilmember David Torres, his wife, Ellie Torres, who is Secretary/Treasurer of the EEDC Board of Directors, as well as Agustín García, Jr., the EEDC Executive Director, Letty Reyes, EEDC Director of Business Development & Public Affairs, Diego Reyna, EEDC Research Analyst, and then-Edinburg City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., also participated in the three-day event, held on Wednesday, November 4, through Friday, November 6, 2015. The gathering was billed by organizers “as a great opportunity for owners, developers, retailers, brokers, lenders, municipalities, property asset managers and product and service providers to gather under one roof to exhibit, make deals and form successful partnerships.” Edinburg continues to build its reputation as a potential successful market in the eyes of many major retailers, Rodríguez contended, saying he and the city delegation who went to Dallas had more than enough evidence to back up their civic pride. “They know we are a booming market. They know the disposable income (personal income after taxes) in the Valley regardless of the incorrect image that some national news media say about us,” he said. But the city’s selling points speak for themselves, he added. “The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the UT School of Medicine set to open next fall, our ongoing construction projects such as the Bert Ogden Arena, the 9,400-seat soccer stadium for the Rio Grande Valley Toros professional soccer team, our major transportation corridors including Interstate Highway 69, Tres Lagos, the planned 2,571 acre master-planned community that will be located in the Edinburg school district and which will feature a future campus of Texas A&M University, and more,” Rodríguez recalled the growing and long list of reasons why businesses should stay, expand, or locate to Edinburg. “These achievements make it so much easier to show retail developers and other prospective employers why Edinburg is the place to be.”