Dogie Days of Summer Dogie Days in Dumas, Texas, has grown from a celebration of the small calf known as the dogie—“as in ‘Get Along, Little Dogie,’ ” quips Dumas Noon Lion Bill Lackey—to a four-day event that attracts thousands and has netted more than a million dollars since 1946 when Lions first hosted a barbecue on the courthouse square. There are three or four class reunions during Dogie (pronounced dough-gie) Days and a carnival that has a quarter-mile of rides and game booths. Lackey says as many as 50 causes benefit from the event, including the Texas Lions Camp, Meals on Wheels, Leader Dogs for the Blind, scholarships and vision screening and eyeglasses for people in need. Lines start forming early for devoted fans of the Lions barbecue. “The preparation for the barbecue begins the week before with the mixing of the seasoning, the digging of two ditches approximately 100 yards long and wrapping the meat,” Lackey points out. “We don’t use brisket, but shoulder clod. The seasoning is in four wash tubs. The meat is tossed into the tubs and coated, wrapped in white butcher paper, then wrapped in foil and tossed into a refrigerated trailer to soak up the seasoning until the Wednesday of the actual celebration when it’s put in the pit,” he explains. “The ‘experts’ tell us that after 12 hours, it’s done. The rest of the time it soaks in the juice and seasoning. This is authentic pit barbecue.” An average of 7,600 pounds of meat is grilled this way along with nearly 15,000 hamburgers grilled and sold by Lions. It takes nearly all of the club’s 237 members to run the barbecue operation with typical Lions precision. “With the two ditches dug, about four feet deep, the wood is thrown into the ditches the night before and lit,” Lackey says. Lions place the packages of wrapped meat directly onto the burned-down wood and cover it all with steel plates that are eight feet long. And then the plates are covered with dirt. Long lines have already formed by the time the meat is ready to be unwrapped and unveiled, along with plentiful side dishes also served by Lions. Last year club members fed more than 6,000 people, roughly half the population of Dumas. Handy Lions Tackle Trailer It took more than 2,500 hours and one year, but when the dust finally settled, members of the Fraser River Valley Lions Club in Colorado had a new food trailer. The 79-member club raises between $8,000 to $10,000 a year by selling pancakes and sausages at local events. Funds are used for community assistance and help support the club’s scholarship program. “The old trailer, rapidly deteriorating, had been in use for over 25 years,” says Frank Watts. “It was first gutted and appliances with value were sold.” It had been built in 1954 and converted by Lions in 1981. Lions invested in a 33-foot Shasta Roadmaster house trailer built in 1989, but renovating it into a rolling restaurant on wheels took some innovation and teamwork. Watts says contractors donated some services and the club received a $9,500 grant from a local foundation. In addition to new doors and serving windows, new sub-flooring and linoleum were installed. “New cabinets and counters were made in members’ workshops and new water and gas lines were installed. A new sink, refrigerator, two cook tops, a steam table and a full-sized stove were purchased and installed,” he adds. Roof repair, new wiring and exterior work were also done. After the redo, Watts points out, “The windows and microwave were about the only features left untouched. One Lion spent so much time on the roof that we threatened to put a bed up there.” Another member rebuilt the hitch on his 3/4-ton truck specifically to handle the bigger, heavier food trailer as it’s hauled to various fundraising events. A yellow and “Lions blue” paint job with a large Lions logo completes the trailer, says Watts. Finding a Fortune Hidden treasure isn’t hard to find. Burnsville Lions in Minnesota realized they could make money by sponsoring a version of “Antiques Roadshow,” the popular television series where appraisers tell stunned families they’ve inherited a fortune in that old vase or homely painting that’s been cluttering the attic for decades. Lions decided to sponsor their own show after an appraiser friend of a club member mentioned the idea as a potential fundraiser. Some people discovered they did indeed hit an unexpected jackpot when they paid a visit to a local church where the Lions Antiques Appraisal Fundraiser was staged. Lion Mark Moen says, “We had people lined up outside the doors two hours before we were to open. We managed to get every item reviewed and appraised.” Using word of mouth, newspaper ads, fliers, posters and online social networking sites to advertise the event, Lions anticipated only 100 people but nearly 300 showed up for the four-hour event. They charged $10 for appraisal of two items and served refreshments to the patient crowd. “The appraisers volunteered their own time and it was a great way for them to see new items and advertise their services as well,” says Moen. “Several items appraised at nice amounts for their owners, including an old duck sprinkler for $10,000, a vase appraised at $10,000 and an Andre Gisson painting worth $25,000.” The vase, declared “ugly and old” by the owner’s wife, who relegated it to the basement for years, now sits in a safe deposit box after its true value was discovered. Lions plan to keep turning trash into cash. They made a profit of $2,500 after expenses and people ask when they’ll sponsor another appraisal event. The answer is soon, says Moen. Unlike some people, Lions know a good thing when they see it.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
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