Xpress Data, Inc.'s 2nd Annual Credit Union ChiliChallenge, sanctioned by the International Chili Society, drewcredit union teams from as far as Pennsylvania to Del Mar Racetracknear San Diego.

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San Diego-based XDI, a provider of electronic correspondence solutions to more than 120 creditunions, launched the event lastyear.

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This year, the Aug. 2 competition was hot between 10cooperatives that wanted to take home trophies, bragging rights and$10,000 in prize money for charities.

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Eagle Community Credit Union's team, led by Barbara McRae,dished up the best of the day, according to the judges, and earneda $5,000 cash donation for Children's Hospital of Orange County.The prize will be added to the money Eagle Community is alreadyraising for its annual CHOC Walk next month, the credit unionsaid.

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“We went in with no expectations, thinking our chili was tasty,but we knew we had some tough competitors. So when we won we wereshocked,” Erica Waetjen, VP of marketing for the $215 million LakeForest, Calif.-based institution, stated in a press release. “Wehad so much fun, and to get a check to give to CHOC was even morerewarding.”

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Like many of the participating credit unions, Eagle Communityheld an internal chili cook-off between seven teams to determinethe winner and McRae's recipe earned the top spot, XDI said.

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“It is a very cooperative and fun networking event,” McRae said.“We met a lot of new people from different credit unions across thecountry. It's also open to the public, so we're getting our namesout there as we're passing out chili and interacting with potentialmembers, and they are witnessing the cooperative and fun nature ofcredit unions.”

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As the grand prize winner, Eagle Community qualified to competein the Homestyle Division of ICS's 48th Annual World ChampionshipChili Cookoff in Las Vegas Oct. 24-26.

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The $697 million, Oceanside, Calif.-based Pacific Marine CreditUnion scooped up second place and earned $3,500 for Rady Children'sHospital San Diego. Pacific Marine was also second place in theoverall ICS Homestyle chili competition and the XDI People's Choicefor Chili.

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The $855 million, Livermore, Calif.-based Operating EngineersFederal Credit Union was third and earned $1,500 for AmericanCancer Society.

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The $3.37 billion Kinecta Federal Credit Union, based inManhattan Beach, Calif., received the People's Choice for BestBooth for its colorful 1950's-inspired theme.

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Other competing teams included:

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• Foxy Cuisiners from the$215 million Cabrillo Credit Union of San Diego.

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• 5 Alarm Chili from the$870 million Firefighters First Credit Union of Los Angeles.

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• North County Jones and theChili of Doom from the $59 million North County Credit Union of SanDiego.

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• Red Hot Chilies from the$187 million POPA Federal Credit Union based in Cerritos,Calif.

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• Sweet and Sassy ChiliQueens from the $200 million Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union basedin Scranton, Pa.

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• Spock's Highly IllogicalChili from the $776 million USE Credit Union of San Diego.

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