Hunterdale Ruritan Beef Barbecue co-chair Paul Phillips serves up a plate of sliced barbecued top sirloin, baked beans, cole slaw and rolls Wednesday at the club’s 50th annual fundraiser. -- Mitzi Lusk | Tidewater News
Hunterdale Ruritan Beef Barbecue co-chair Paul Phillips serves up a plate of sliced barbecued top sirloin, baked beans, cole slaw and rolls Wednesday at the club’s 50th annual fundraiser. -- Mitzi Lusk | Tidewater News

Archived Story

Hunterdale Ruritan’s event is golden

Published 10:50am Friday, May 17, 2013

FRANKLIN—The weather cooperated and offered up sunny skies and a Nottoway River breeze, as the Hunterdale Ruritan Club celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Beef Barbecue fundraiser.

While it will be a week or so before final numbers are tallied, co-chairman Paul Phillips indicated the turnout was good with at least 1,450 tickets coming through the gate.

Serving up 3,000 pounds of top sirloin, basted in a secret sauce, the 65 members of the club, along with other volunteers and family members, provided another successful event Wednesday.

Held at the Bronco Club, the funds raised go toward many and various community projects. At approximately 7 p.m., cooking and serving committee member Taylor Williams offered up a brief speech about how the club gives back. From the last four years of profits, it has allowed the club to donate $112,000 to the community, which averages out to $28,000 per year in contributions, said Williams.

He added the club supports about 25 different groups, including an annual $1,000 recurring scholarship for four different individual college-bound seniors. Williams also said that a couple of years back, the Hunterdale Ruritans teamed with the Hunterdale Volunteer Fire Department and put in dry fire hydrants in various locations in the service area, which allows tanker trucks to pull water to help fight fires.

The club, organized in 1948, gives to the United Way, the YMCA, Boys and Girls State, Western Tidewater Free Clinic, Grazing Acres, Boy Scout Troop 125 and the Agriculture center, to name a few. The Ruritans also assist during the Southampton County Fair by parking cars, selling concessions and supporting teams for the Southampton County baseball league.

He thanked those in attendance for “helping us help the community.”

Phillips said the day went well with “no hiccups.” He said the food line didn’t back up and there wasn’t a long wait.

“This is one of the most incredibly organized productions I’ve been a part of. Everybody knows what to do. As one of the coordinators, I worry, but it all went smoothly,” he maintained.

Phillips continued, “Three out of the last four years we’ve had rain. But Wednesday was typical of what we’ve been used to (weather-wise). It all went off without a hitch, with no stress.”

The cooking crew makes up the secret sauce and bastes the beef loins every 15 minutes. Member Joe Hutt blows a whistle when it is time to turn and baste. Then the meat is sliced and served with beans, cups of cole slaw, rolls and more sauce. Sauce-master Miles White said the sauce has to run off, so it doesn’t burn the meat. The sauce committee of Ralph Tayloe, Bob Koenig and White start with 48 gallons of vinegar, adding other ingredients, which amounts to about 60 gallons of the special sauce. Along with the 3,000 pounds of top sirloin served up, there was also 700 pounds of slaw, 700 pounds of baked beans and 150 packages of 24-count rolls.

Fiftieth anniversary tee shirts in a wide array of colors were sold for $5 each.

Phillips, along with Murray Turner and Frank Foster all co-chair this year’s event.

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