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Chili Challenge Heats Up, Builds Awareness For San Diego CUs
SAN DIEGO (8/15/13--The Xpress Data Inc. Credit Union Chili Challenge, held at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Racetrack in San Diego Aug. 3, hosted 10 California credit unions competing for trophies, bragging rights and $10,000 in prize money for their charities.
"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 [more than 20,000 patrons were at the racetrack that day] but also show that this industry is committed to giving back and supporting its community charities--just like we at XDI are committed to supporting our credit union community," Cooper said.
First place winner was Pacific Marine CU's Chilis-a-Blazin' team, led by Chief Cook Lynette Chubb. It received a $5,000 cash donation for its charity, Rady Children's Hospitals. As first place winner, the team will compete in the Homestyle Division of the 47th Annual International Chili Society (ICS) World's Championship Chili Cookoff in Palm Springs, Calif., Oct. 11-13.
Second place went to United Services CU's team, Chili Chili Bang Bang, led by Chief Cook Laura Poerink. The team earned $3,500 to donate to their charity, Alternative Family Services of Almeda. Chili Chili Bang Bang also won the People's Choice Award.
In third place was USE CU's Team Fat Chili, led by Chief Cook Steve Ewers. The team earned $1,500 for the San Diego State University's Alumni Association  Scholarship Program.
Other competitors included: Hot Pink Chili Peppers from Kinecta FCU; Cabrillo Cajuns from Cabrillo CU; Hillbilly Chili from Chevron Valley CU (winner of Best Booth Decoration); The Searing Eagles from Eagle Community CU; Chili Gone Wild! From OE FCU, winner of Best Showmanship; Team Nougat from San Francisco Fire FCU; and Red Hot Chilis from POPA FCU
Six of the competing credit unions held internal chili cook-offs to select the best chili to represent the credit unions.  Schools First FCU made an additional financial contribution to support the event.
Plans are underway to host next year's XDI CU Chili Challenge to a bigger field of competitors, said XDI, a service company focused on customization, production and delivery of credit union member correspondence.
Even chili cook-offs can build awareness of the cooperative philosophy of credit unions and their community spirit. Raising awareness of the value of credit unions to members and the community is one of three components of the Unite for Good campaign, the Credit Union National Association's and the state leagues' campaign to achieve the strategic vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.

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