Beef ‘n Fun was ‘novel little event’ 35 years ago

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By Peg Wunder

Peg Wunder stated, Monday, April 6, that 35 years ago a novel little event was held in Mobridge, as she began her program for the Rotary about Beef ‘n Fun.
It was intended to be a one-time thing, but largely because of a group of dedicated people, that event was held one more time. That one more time just kept going.
“As a member of that dedicated group, of which I consider myself lucky to be a part of, has worked to keep this event going,” Wunder told the group.  “Many of us were in our early 30s when Beef ‘n Fun started. Do the math and you have to admit that our committee has become much more mature and I’m afraid a crossroads has been reached and it’s time for a close look at Beef ‘n Fun and where it should go from here.”
Wunder said committee is the “umbrella” for the events that are carried on that day.  Money is collected to pay for the meal, advertising to include all events of the day, entertainment, i.e. movie, music, stick horse races, assist with the car show and the ranch rodeo, and other miscellaneous expenses. Letters are sent out requesting $65 donations, the same amount that we asked for 35 years ago. The response is phenomenal; nearly 90 businesses and people send in the donation. However, that leaves at least 40 who need to be contacted to keep the committee in line with the budget.
“For the past several years we have had to take a little from our savings to pay all the bills,” she said. “Having to contact businesses and ask for $65 for an event that has been at it for 35 years is a job no one wants to do.”
She said few volunteers step forward to help with the serving, which means that phone calls need to be made to get enough people to work in the serving lines. The last several years the  Mobridge-Pollock High School Honor Society Members have stepped in to help.
“Imagine that! Approximately 30 people are needed to work the serving line and we have to ask high school students to step in and help,” she said. “Those of us who stayed on the committee and worked to keep Beef ‘n Fun happening feel that it is a wonderful concept.  It may be old-fashioned to stop and spend a day saying thank you to the area people who support Mobridge all year, but we feel that it’s important.
Wunder said some of the committee members feel it is time they retire. Getting people to step in and replace the officers has not happened even though the committee has gotten one or two new people.
She said everyone wants Beef ‘n Fun Day and some are willing to help out that day, but no one wants to organize what happens, keep a tight budget and attend meetings.  The committee meets about four times each year.
“John has a wonderful crew and with the help of Jesse Konold and John’s son, John Badgley, they do a great job with the food,” Wunder told the group.  “Ron Landis, Rosemary Shelley, Chris Maher, Otto Oster, and myself, Peg Wunder, comprise the long-time committee members. Last year Brian Bickel and Justin Loesch joined us as they took over the ranch rodeo.”
The following are alternatives she said the committee has informally discussed:
l.  Cease Beef ‘n Fun now. We have not yet started planning the event for this year. We would donate the money we have to a worthwhile community project.
2.  Have one last Beef ‘n Fun this year. Collection letters could be sent out but no individual contacts would be made. That money plus some of our savings would go for one last big Beef ‘n Fun. Whatever is left would go to a community project. This would be advertised as the 36th and final Beef ‘n Fun Day.
3.  Beef ‘n Fun would continue with new people to take over some, if not all of the current positions.  The current officers would be willing, if asked, to stay for one more year, to help the new committee members.
“Personally, Beef ‘n Fun has been a part of my life since its second year and I am not enjoying the idea that this may be the end of the Mobridge ‘thank you’,” Wunder said. “I’m sure John’s cook crew, The Ambassadors, will continue; we will visit the towns around Mobridge and help them with their celebrations. Thirty-five years is a pretty good record for the existence of an event.  Like I said earlier, we have reached a crossroads and we would like the community response as to what we should do. We have between 80 and 90 faithful supporters and it’s only fair they have a voice in this. There will be a meeting May 16 at the American Legion at 7 p.m. which will give everyone a chance to voice their opinion. I urge you to attend.”
Dawn Konold introduced Evan Peterschnick from Minnesota who is the new KOLY news director.
Michele Harrison, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, announced that on the 21st Chamber After 5 will be at New Evarts. She encouraged all Chamber members to attend as New Evarts is under new management.
Chairman Harley Overseth presented the district budget and noted that the district officers have, for the first time, asked that each club in the district review and ratify it.  Motion passed unanimously to approve the district budget.
Cindy Volk volunteered to compose a letter to be sent to those who have been invited to Rotary explaining our dues structure and some of the things our club does to help in the community. John Badgley noted that after the Fourth of July the club needs to start working on a membership drive to be held in the fall. The Rotary brochures need to be updated. Everyone should be thinking about potential members.
Chairman Overseth asked the club to approve purchasing a 12-volt converter for the Rotary inflatable and miscellaneous items needed to use it in the parade on the Fourth of July.  His request was approved.
Chairman Overseth will present the Rotary Scholarship at the Awards ceremony on Wednesday.
Dawn Konold won the 50/50 pot and she will have the program next Monday when Rotary meets at noon at the Moose Lodge.

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