Beef Bonanza

Published 9:47 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

FRANKLIN—More than 1,700 people consumed nearly 3,200 pounds of USDA-certified top sirloin Wednesday at the Hunterdale Ruritan Club’s annual Beef Barbecue, making the fundraiser one of the most successful in the club’s history.

“I understand that some people who wanted to come couldn’t even find a ticket to buy,” said Ruritan member Murray Turner. “The stores had sold out.”

Even with the big crowd, “everything went smoothly,” Turner said. “At least I haven’t heard of any mishaps. We try to give people a good time — with plenty to eat and wonderful, live entertainment.

“We want them to enjoy themselves so they’ll want to come back next year.”

The club’s 47th annual Beef Barbecue was held at the Bronco Rod and Gun Club near Franklin. Aside from the meal, visitors were treated to a social hour with music by the Fat Ammons Band. The Nottoway River made a picturesque backdrop.

A few souvenirs were sold, while two members of the Holland District of Ruritan National were on hand with samples of roasted peanuts.

Organized in 1948, the Hunterdale club currently has 70 members, “and each of us had our own duties at the barbecue,” said club President Ronnie Norton.

Norton said club members begin preparing a day in advance.

“We put up tables, tents, things like that, so we won’t have so much to do on the day of the barbecue.”

Turner added, “And we take the day after to clean up, so for us, it’s a three-day effort.”

The fundraiser, which benefits organizations such as the Hunterdale Fire Department, youth organizations, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and the March of Dimes, also supplies funds for scholarships to deserving students.

The event has a terrific home at the Bronco Club, organizers said.

“It’s convenient and quiet and the ideal place for the number of people we have,” Turner said.