Rain doesn’t stop barbecue

Published 10:36 am Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brent Mason, from left, Matt Drake and Adam Darden attempt to stay dry during Hunterdale Ruritan Club's 49th annual Western Beef BBQ at Bronco Rod & Gun Club on Wednesday. GWEN ALBERS/TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—For 44 years, the Hunterdale Ruritan Club’s annual Western Beef BBQ never experienced a rain.

For three out of the last five years, it has rained, but nothing like it did on Wednesday at the Bronco Rod & Gun Club outside Franklin along the Nottoway River.

“We probably had the hardest and longest rain,” said Paul Phillips, co-chairman for the 49th annual event. “We must’ve gotten a couple inches of rain in an hour and a half.”

The club fell a little short of selling its 1,700 tickets and more people than usual chose not to eat on the club grounds, Phillips said. To-go containers were gone by 6:30 — 30 minutes before serving came to a close.

“We feel like a majority of people got their meals to go and then ran to their cars,” he said. “There wasn’t a dry place to eat.”

Some remained in their vehicles, waiting out the rain.

Groups of people gathered under a few canopies and the beer concessions. The band Hot Cakes played on a nearby stage.

“I think a lot of people come for the entertainment and alcohol, and the meal sweetens the deal,” Phillips said. “Barbecue beef is kind of delicacy. You don’t see it at too many fundraisers.”

Jack Jr.’s Towing was on scene, but Phillips said he didn’t hear of any motorists who got stuck in the mud.

“The path (road) leading to the club was the worst I’d ever seen it,” he said.

Wednesday’s rain won’t keep the club from hosting its 50th anniversary event next May.

“We’re hoping to pull a few extra strings and add something to it,” Phillip said.