There was more than surf and turf at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Racetrack in San Diego County, Calif., on Aug. 3, as 10 California credit unions cooked up batches of chili and fun at the Xpress Data Inc. Credit Union Chili Challenge.
The credit union teams were competing for trophies, bragging rights and a total of $10,000 in prize money for their charities in the International Chili Society-sanctioned event.
The winner also qualified to compete in the Home-style Division of the 47th Annual International Chili Society World’s Championship Chili Cook-off in Palm Springs, Calif., on Oct. 11-13.
There were more than 20,000 patrons at the racetrack that day cheering on their favorite horses and chili.
“This event really breaks the mold of traditional credit union gatherings outside the workplace,” said Mike Cooper, president/CEO of XDI. “Our mission here was to provide enhanced credit union awareness to consumers at a heavily attended public venue, but also show that this industry is committed to giving back and supporting its community charities.”
The $696 million Pacific Marine Credit Union in Oceanside took home first place with their "Chilis-a-Blazin" team led by chief cook and EDM manager, Lynette Chubb and earned a $5,000 cash donation for their charity, Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.
The Pacific Marine team will now compete in the Home-style Division of the ICS World’s Championship Chili Cook-off, XDI said in its announcement.
The $811 million 1st United Services CU in Pleasanton, also known as “Chili Chili Bang Bang,” for the day, took second place with chief cook and vice president of electronic services Laura Poerink. The spicy concoction earned a $3,500 donation for their charity, Alternative Family Services of Alameda. Chili Chili Bang Bang also won the People’s Choice award.
The $750 million USE CU in San Diego took third place. The team, nicknamed “Team Fat Chili,” was led by chief cook and CIO Steve Ewers and earned a $1,500 donation for their charity, SDSU Alumni Association Scholarship Program.
Cooper said. “We look forward to hosting this unique and entertaining event again next year.”
Below, the Pacific Marine Credit Union team took top honors.
Below, the contestants all in a row.