Lucia Rodriguez heads list of salsa festival winners

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More than 420 votes were cast at the inaugural Maricopa Salsa Festival Presented by inmaricopa.com Saturday. A volunteer corp led by Aime Boekhout provided on-site tallying allowing the winners to be announced within moments of the competition’s end.

 src=At 5 p.m., Marty McDonald, Director of Parks and Recreation, took center stage to announce the winners. Each winner received a hand-painted trophy bowl and platter, a large bag of chips and four tickets to an upcoming Arizona Diamondbacks game. Winner of Best Overall also received a $100 cash prize presented by Curves.

Sue Wallace took home the first prize presented with her win in the Best Mild category. Wallace’s “Sue Salsa” brought ease to many festival goers with its fresh taste and mild spice.

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Sue Wallace accepts her prizes for Best Mild Salsa from Marty McDonald.

David Chavez and his family were next up with their win in the category of Most Unusual. Their creative mixture of mango, papaya and crab won over the crowd and the category with its tropical taste and seafood touch.

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The Chavez family celebrates their win of the Most Unusual Salsa.

Maricopa Fire Department’s Jim Larrimore and his team started a few fires at the festival with their super hot “Four Horsemen” salsa and took the win for that category. Though many could not brave some of the hot entries, the ones did loved Larrimore’s mixture.

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Jim Larrimore and his team’s “Four Horsemen” set mouths on fire and took home the Best Hot Salsa prize.

The famed Celebrities’ Choice went to Lucia and Eddie Rodriguez with their hot “Tejano’s Salsa.” A complex combination of lime, cilantro and spices, Rodriguez was recognized by Maricopa’s special judges as well as the crowd.

Rodriguez also brought home the big prize winning the Best Overall category. Rodriguez was presented with $100 cash on the spot and was also given four more baseball tickets and another hand-painted bowl and platter. Just three votes were the difference in the hotly contested Best Overall competition as Rodriguez beat out the “Four Horsemen” 58-55.

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Lucia Rodriguez takes home both Celebrities’ Choice and Best Overall with her “Tejano’s Salsa.”

As the winners took home prizes, all contestants seemed to enjoy the sprit of the event and the festival as a whole. The inaugural event is sure to be the first of many in what could become a great Maricopa tradition.