Firefighters First takes third at World’s Chili Championships

SAN DIEGO, CA (November 7, 2017) — The $1.25 billion Firefighters First Credit Union placed third in the People’s Choice award at the 51st Annual International Chili Society World’s Championships here on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Firefighters First competed in the Homestyle category, and faced off against a total of 156 teams competing for the People’s Choice award. In total, 452 chili cooks competed in different categories that also included Traditional Red Chili, Chili Verde, Salsa and a Youth division. Firefighters First’s team, Fire Watch, received a plaque and a $100 prize. The honor marks the fourth time a credit union team has placed at the ICS World’s Championships.

“Our team had a wonderful time at the International Chili Championships,” said Chantel Perez, Firefighters First Corporate Regional Office Manager and Captain of the credit union’s chili team, named Fire Watch. “It was a great experience being among chili winners who have participated for many years. We didn’t know what to expect, but everyone was welcoming and helpful. Overall, we had a great time.”

Firefighters First swept the 5th Annual Xpress Data, Inc. Credit Union Chili Challenge in August, topping 21 other credit union teams to win 1st place from judges and the People’s Choice Award. It was the first time a team had won both categories. The increasingly popular event – which has attracted competitors as far away as New Orleans – is an opportunity to enhance pride, teambuilding skills and employee engagement, and gives teams a chance to network with employees from other credit unions. The 2017 Chili Challenge also raised $15,000 for credit union charities.

“It’s exciting to see this event continue to grow,” said Xpress Data Founder Mike Cooper. “It’s not only a fun way to increase employee engagement, credit unions also raise money for their favorite charities.”

XDI has created a Chili Cookoff Kit that provides credit unions with everything they need to host their own cookoff, which can be used to determine which team competes in the Chili Challenge, or just provides a fun event for staffers. The kit includes instructions, rules, ballots and even a plaque for the winner. To request your free kit, please click on this link:

Cooks from Fire Watch, Firefighters First Credit Union’s winning chili cookoff team, proudly display their 2017 prize money and trophies with Xpress Data, Inc. Sales Manager Greg Hancock (in red).

About Xpress Data, Inc.

Based in San Diego and founded in 1995, Xpress Data, Inc. started as an all-purpose digital printing and mailing operation. In 1999, the company made a major strategic decision to focus entirely on the credit union industry. Today, XDI serves over 200 progressive credit unions, collectively serving more than 20 million members and representing $355 billion in assets. Additional information is available at


Xpress Data, Inc.


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