News & Events

Chicagoland New-car Dealers to Host More than 60 USO Barbecues for the Troops on July 19

Chicagoland new-car dealers are once again on a summertime mission to raise awareness and funds for local troops and their families. For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Automobile Trade Association (CATA) and its dealer members have partnered with the USO of Illinois to host more than 60 Barbecue for the Troops community fundraising events. The 2014 USO Barbecue for the Troops events will take place simultaneously on Saturday, July 19, throughout Chicagoland. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised will directly support local military and their families. 

In 2013, the inaugural year of the USO Barbecue for the Troops program, CATA member dealers collectively raised $37,500 – accounting for approximately 40 percent of the total funds raised nationally through this initiative. The USO of Illinois plans to publicly recognize the CATA with the Salute to Leadership Award during the USO Star-Spangled Salute Gala this fall. Each year, the USO of Illinois presents the USO Salute to Leadership Award to a civic or community leader in special recognition for their distinguished personal and professional efforts in the support of the U.S. Armed Forces.

“We’re beyond humbled to be considered for the USO Salute to Leadership Award for our role in the USO Barbecue for the Troops program. This is just one example of the goodwill that Chicagoland new-car dealers bring to their communities,” said Colin Wickstrom, CATA chairman. “I can genuinely speak on behalf of the CATA membership when I say that, as an association, we’re proud to be a part of such a great cause and we look forward to kicking off this year’s USO Barbecue for the Troops events.”

“Last year’s partnership with the CATA was a huge success, raising $37,500 worth of funds that were used to provide programming for local military and their families. We saw firsthand just how much of a positive impact local Chicagoland dealers have in their communities and are overwhelmed by the response we have had this year by returning and new dealerships,” stated Alison Ruble, president and CEO of the USO of Illinois. “The USO of Illinois is a nonprofit; therefore, significant funds, such as those raised by the CATA last year, are integral to the operation of the USO of Illinois. The $37,500 raised last year could effectively fund the operation of our five USO centers for a month and a half, serving roughly 28,000 service members and their families.”

Each dealer will tap into existing relationships within their community to add a unique spin on their fundraising barbecues. Patriotic ceremonies, cook-offs, car washes, live music and games for kids of all ages are just a few highlights event attendees will be able to enjoy at dealerships across Chicagoland on July 19.

Those who cannot attend an event can still show their support for the troops and have a chance to win barbecue-themed prizes on social media. Now through July 21, fans can submit barbecue photos or videos with hashtag #BBQ4Troops on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to be entered to win weekly prizes from Bub City and a grand prize – a barbecue basket filled with a gift card, barbecue sauces, dry rubs, flavored wood chips, a T-shirt and other barbecue accessories – from Real Urban BBQ.

USO Barbecue for the Troops is a national fundraising campaign that encourages organizations and communities to host barbecues and raise funds for local USO programs and services. For the full listing of CATA Barbecue for the Troops events, visit To download digital assets and logos, please visit:

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