Two major events which provide top-level music and film entertainment and competition, while promoting education, increasing tourism, and generating positive publicity for the city throughout the Valley, Texas and beyond, have received key financial support from the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.


Texas Cook ‘Em: High Steaks in Edinburg and The South Texas International Film Festival each were awarded $20,000 grants from the Edinburg EDC following presentations by the leaders of those organizations on Tuesday May 29, 2018 during the regular monthly meeting of Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, which took place beginning at 6 p.m. at Edinburg City Hall.


According to their respective websites:


• The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce celebrates the 13th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em: High Steaks in Edinburg during the July 4th weekend in the city. Competitors battle on the grill to cook the best chicken, ribs, brisket and rib-eye for money and a year’s worth of bragging rights. Texas Cook ‘Em is the Valley's biggest BBQ purse awarding $30,000 to the winners. Texas Cook ’Em is also the first and only IBCA & SCA Sanctioned Steak cook-off in South Texas. The events will be held on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at the Edinburg Municipal Park, located at 714 South Raúl Longoria Road. Join Texas Cook ‘Em each year for fireworks, live music, family fun zone, barbecue and more. For more information, visit its website at (; and


• The 4th Annual South Texas International Film Festival (STXFF) will consist of a four-day festival beginning on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 and lasting through Saturday, September 18 2018. It will feature full-length, regional and a short film competitions, screenings, panel discussions, educational workshops, industry expo and mixers. The Edinburg Arts Foundation, which is a non-profit organization founded to support the Cultural Arts Division of the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, is spearheading STXFF. For more information, visit its website at .


The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.


The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Jorge Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.


The financial support for both events was approved on unanimous votes by the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.


In the case of Texas Cook ‘Em: High Steaks in Edinburg, Mayor Molina, because he also serves as Vice-Chair of the Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors – in order to avoid a conflict-of-interest – excused himself from any discussion and did not vote on the funding for Texas Cook ‘Em: High Steaks in Edinburg.


However, Molina did take part in the discussions regarding the South Texas International Film Festival, and voted for the Edinburg EDC to provide the $20,000 grant to The Edinburg Arts Foundation.




On Saturday evening, July 7, 2018, Pat Green, a three-time Grammy nominee in country music, will be the headline act as part of an evening musical concert that also will feature local performances by Draft (, Down South ( and Ten Ton Hammer (


Alex Ríos, Chairman, Board of Directors, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, who helped successfully spearhead the presentation before the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, said the Saturday, July 7, 2018 musical line-up is one of the many ways the pro-business group gives back to its hometown.


“This year, the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors approved for the event to be completely free to the public, whether it be for entrance, parking, special events, fireworks displays, parking, and especially for the upcoming great concert,” he explained. “I’ve been a volunteer for Texas Cook ‘Em since year one, and we didn’t charge at the beginning. I remember our second year, we had more than 8,000 people attend our event. I would like to see that number once again, and we all felt a free event would get us to meet our goal.”


Ríos was joined by J.J. Flores, representing Chorizo de San Manuel and Vice Chair of Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, and Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing/Special Events, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, during their appearance before the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.


Ríos, who also serves as Director of the District Office for Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, said Texas Cook ‘Em: High Steaks in Edinburg also provides area residents the opportunity to celebrate the national holiday near their home, as well as bringing visitors into the city.


“For 12 years, Texas Cook ‘Em: High Steaks in Edinburg has improved as a quality-of-life festival, bringing many cooking teams from around Texas and other states,” said Ríos, the owner of Kids’ Kollege Learning Center. “Many of these competitors and their families and friends stay at our great hotels in Edinburg, they gas up here, purchase personal goods, shop at our stores and dine at our restaurants.”


Police, Emergency Medical Services personnel, and volunteers selected by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce will be present at all times to make it a family-friendly gathering.


Although visitors for both days are not allowed to bring drinks, food or pets (except service animals, such as seeing-eye dogs), there will be numerous Edinburg vendors at the event, selling beverages, tacos, burgers, funnel cakes, etc., as well as arts and crafts. Bathroom facilities also will be in place at Edinburg Municipal Park for the one-day celebration


As of mid-June, about 40 teams already had signed up from the Valley, Coastal Bend and Houston, with the majority of competitors usually waiting until the final two weeks before officially entering the event.


“Last year we had 127 teams – 90 were outside of Edinburg (Houston, Lockhart, League City, Carrizo Springs, San Antonio, DFW, Austin, Kingsville, Sugarland and the Rio Grande Valley), and in years past, we’ve had cooks travel fro as far away as Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida,” said Larralde.


Cooking entries are $250 for all four entries, which feature Rib-Eye Steak, ½ chicken, pork spare ribs, and brisket.




For area residents who enjoy barbecue, there are also opportunities to play key roles in the cook-off.


The Texas Cook’Em Committee is currently accepting barbecue judges. Individuals who are 18 years of age or older are being sought to taste chicken, ribs, steak and smoked brisket, with their judgments helping determine which of the cooks will share in the $30,000 in prize money.


On Friday, July 6, 2018, the competitors for the cook-off competitions will be setting up their equipment, while most of the other activities will take place on Saturday, July 7, 2018, said Larralde.


“On Friday, most visitors usually go to watch these world-class cooks, along with their families and friends, begin preparing for the competition, which begins early the next day,” Larralde said. “On Saturday, the gates open once again at 9 a.m., and the cook-off, along with many other activities, will continue through the day, until the concert and major fireworks display help wrap up the evening by 10:30 p.m.”




Also according to the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce:


Pat Green has become a cultural force across the country that has sold out venues from Nokia Theater in Time Square and House of Blues Los Angeles to the Houston Astrodome. Respected by his peers, he has co-written with artists ranging from Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton to Jewel and Rob Thomas.


Green’s explosive live shows have made him a fan favorite and a hot ticket landing tours with Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Dave Matthews Band.


Named “the Springsteen of the South West” by People, Green has sold more than two million records and has released 10 studio albums. He has a string of 15 hits on the Billboard Country Radio Chart and 12 number one hits on the Texas Radio Chart, including his latest single “Drinkin' Days,” which spent an impressive seven weeks at #1.


He has been praised by Esquire, NPR, Rolling Stone, People, Billboard, USA Today, American Songwriter, Paste, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Austin City Limits and Late Show With David Letterman. His album “What I’m For” made its debut at number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart, which was followed by his critically acclaimed love letter to his fans “Home.”




The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce celebrated Leadership Edinburg Class XXIX graduation on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.


The following 11 graduates from the city’s business community were honored for completing the nine-month program:


• John Mark Atchley (South Texas Health System Edinburg)

• Joe A. Delgado (Halff Associates);

• Mary Lou Escobedo (Escobedo & Cárdenas, LLP);

• Abel Garza (Wells Fargo);

• Maricruz Z. Nieto (Townplace Suites by Marriott);

• Erica Pérez (RGV Town Planner);

• Johnny Rodríguez (Bert Ogden Auto Group–Public Relations);

• Nydia M. Treviño (Memorial Funeral Home);

• Marivel Valdez (Open Range Enterprises);

• Mónica Ann Vega (Oceangate Hospitality); and

• Priscilla C. Whiteaker (Farmers Insurance).


Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina and Robert C. Vackar, Chief Performance Officer and Chairman of the Board of Bert Ogden Auto Group, were special guests for the graduation ceremony.


Vackar presented the keynote address to the graduates, expressing the importance of leadership and staying active in local community affairs.


Class XXIX completed several events including a two-day leadership retreat and sessions that focused on education, healthcare, history, media, economics, government, quality of life and community service.


Each Leadership Edinburg Class selects a project that they work on together and complete within one year of the program.


Class XXIX completed their Inclusive Playground Project at Norma Linda Treviño Park.


Leadership Edinburg XXIX unveiled two brand-new pieces of equipment and an inclusive space for special needs children to enjoy with all children.


Leadership Edinburg is a program of the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. It is a growing organization that strives to encourage a better Edinburg through strong leadership skills focusing on politics, education, and quality of life.


For more information on Leadership Edinburg please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956-383-4974 or visit online at




Ronnie Larralde contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to