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'Barbecue is for everyone': La Vega High School all-girls competitive barbecue team places at Nationals

'Barbecue is for everyone': La Vega High School all-girls competitive barbecue team places at Nationals
Posted at 1:32 PM, Jul 04, 2024

BELLMEAD, Texas (KXXV) — The Firecrackers are an all-girls competitive barbecue team at La Vega High School. They placed top seven this year at high school barbecue nationals.

  • La Vega ISD created competitive barbecue teams to have new enrichment programs that brought out different talents among students that were not traditional sports.
  • Outside of competitions, the team cooks barbecue for their school's football games for fans to enjoy.
  • All barbecue team members must have a food handlers license.


"I didn't go into it with being like, oh, it was going to be a big thing, but then by the end of the year, I was like, this is one of my favorite things I have done with the school," said incoming junior, Leilani Silva said.

Silva is one of five girls on the Firecrackers, the all-girls competitive barbecue team at La Vega High School — she says the team is like a family.

“I'm really close with other girls now, and they're some of my closest friends and then the coaches," Silva said.

"I know that even if it doesn't have to do with barbecue, I know I can go to them for anything.”

Another incoming junior on the team, Lazaiah Marmolejo, says she agrees.

“I see them more as my sisters than anything — I see them as family," Marmolejo said.

The girls say many of them grew up with their family barbecuing, but never did it themselves, until they joined the team.

Now, it's a way to connect with their community and their families.

“Before I ever joined and I told my parents about it, my grandpa, he passed away before — I was younger. To me, whenever I cook barbecue, I do it more as for him, because he enjoyed cooking barbecue," Marmolejo said.

"I see it more as for him and for my family.”

District Administrator Andre Watkins says barbecue connects people of all ages, passing the torch from one generation to the next.

“I love the, using the old school methods, along with some new school tools to let adults share a skill with young people that young people can then share with other young people when they get older," Watkins said.

Last month, The Firecrackers made it to nationals for the second year in a row — they were in the top seven all-girls barbecue teams in the nation.

“We’ve been able to show to other people, barbecue isn’t just a boys sport, it’s for everyone," coach, Trevor Freeman said.

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