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Football Fans Unite to Show off Grilling Skills; Raise Scholarship Funds

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      The familiar smell of Carne Asada filled the air, as Laredoans reunited for the Fifth Annual Tailgate Cook-off at El Metro Park.  The event was coordinated by the LULAC Council #14 and United Way in hopes of raising money for scholarships. “We have helped students continue their college education for 4 years because of this event,” Amador Ballesteros the event coordinator stated.  “This is something larger than football. The purpose of this event is to get all families and teams together to have a nice fun night in a safe environment.”

                Grills were fired up and tents were set up to commemorate their favorite football teams from the Dallas Cowboys to the Arizona Cardinals. Local businesses were featured, with El Vaquerito Meat Optimized-IMG 7402Market even contributing to the Beef eating contest.  Local politicians, Yolanda Salinas and Jorge Vera, running for City Council were on site to promote their names, but overall have a good time by taking pictures and grilling with friends.  However, Laredoans were not the only ones in attendance, as they welcomed several families from surrounding cities such as Austin and The Jimenez family who traveled to compete from California.  This family event allowed everyone to have fun, with local Tacos, Raspas, and even garden crafts.  Children bounced gleefully on two bouncy castles, went on pony rides, and the older children threw footballs at the dunk tank where members of The Laredo Roses volunteered to get wet. The Border Skulls displayed their Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and the Outsiders of Laredo Car Club showed off their vintage rides to the public.

                As the night concluded, large trophies were handed out to the winners of each category by Estela Quintanilla, the president of LULAC #14.  Categories were divided between Media/Sponsors/Political participants and other participants. First place winners received $300, second place winners $200 and third place winners $100. The categories were: Fajita, Finger Ribs, and Chicken.  Participants were also given a large gold trophy to commemorate showmanship, allowing everyone to compete against one another. 

Optimized-IMG 7398       However the night did not go as smoothly as planned, as the first place winner for the Finger Ribs category was called.  The rules stated that all participants must be present in order to receive the prize, and after the third calling they were disqualified.  As the ticket number 079718 was called, there was no response.  Ultimately, Quintanilla decided she
would allow the winner to claim their trophy the next day at their office.  This outraged the crowd as they began to yell “follow the rules,” and some made claims that the plate number did not exist.  Among those angered were tail-gate veterans, and past winners.  A similar incident happened the previous year, where 1st place was not present, and all other rankings were moved up one.  This year, participants expected the same rules to apply, but were upset at Quintanilla’s decision. “No one is going to claim that prize anymore, because there’s no way of them finding-out they won,” one family claimed.  “Now they’re going to keep that money, plus the fee we paid to enter, and the money we spent on buying supplies.”

                Ultimately, Quintanilla decided to collect phone numbers of the second and third place winners, in case first place didn’t claim their trophy.  The situation was handled calmly by both parties, and although several participants left unhappy, it was still a family event with many memories.


Photography by Jesse Cortez (CTZ Photography) in affiliation with Laredo Scene.

Winners were as follows:

Media/ Sponsors/ and Political

Fajita Category

3rd Place: Wawi Tijerina Team

2nd Place: Jorge Vera and Team

1st Place: Family Chevrolet

Finger Ribs

3rd: Sid Holden

2nd: Family Chevrolet

1st: Cuellar County Sheriffs


3rd: Sid Holden

2nd: Wawi Tijerina Team

1st: Webb County Sherriff’s Office

Showmanship (Everyone)

3rd: Outsiders of Laredo Car Club

2nd: Alberto Alvarez

1st: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Other Participants

Fajita Category

3rd: Sunset Smokers

2nd: Jimenez Family

1st: Outsiders of Laredo Car Club

Finger Ribs

3rd: Outsiders of Laredo Car Club

2nd: Freddy Tijerina Team

1st: Unknown


3rd: Eduardo A. Castillo

2nd: Sunset Smokers

1st: Jimenez Family

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