ROCKINGHAM- Most people are associating Tuesday, November 7, with Election Day. But it is also a big day for the Rockingham Rotary Club, as it will hold its annual Barbecue and Auction Day in Richmond County.
This Tuesday, while citizens are casting votes for the candidates of their choice, the members of the Rockingham Rotary Club will be busy raising money to help fund great causes in the community.
This year’s event will be the Rotary Club’s 62nd annual barbecue and auction, and as usual, will be held at the Rockingham Armory. The auction will take place from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Those interested are encouraged to come by any time during the day and place a silent bid if they are unable to attend the auction Tuesday night.
The live auction will start at 7 p.m. and is led by auctioneer and Rotarian Ronnie Hawks. There will be a bake sale and country store that will also be open all day. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., and dinner will be from 4:30 p.m. through 7 p.m. Eat-in, take out or delivery services are available. The plates are $8 each.
There will also be a number of raffle options. Tickets for “The Lucky 4 Raffle” go for $100 each, with four chances to win big. Prizes are $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 and $5,000. For $5, attendees can purchase a ticket for a chance to win a $500 or $1,000 Visa gift card.
The Rockingham Rotary team has its game plan for the annual event down to a science.
“There’s a team of 10 to 12 people, most of whom are non-Rotarians, who cook the pork,” Rotarian and Rockingham mayor Steve Morris said. “This effort is led by local BBQ expert Tommy Deese.
“At the same time, another group of Rotarians will start about 5 a.m. Tuesday morning cooking chicken at St. James Catholic Church in their barbecue pit,” Morris added. “They will cook about 960 chicken halves. Rotarians do all of that cooking. We use a recipe that was published by the North Carolina State Extension Office in the 1950s, as it is a good recipe for barbecuing chicken.”
All the proceeds of the fundraiser are used to sponsor scholarships for both two and four-year local college students, and help assist with funding of local charities such as Backpack Pals, Habitat for Humanity, various after school programs, Our Daily Bread Food Bank, Shoes for Children, and Summer Reading Programs.
There are literally dozens of local charities that benefit from this event through funding by the Rotary.
“This is the only project we do all year long,” Morris stated. “When we started out, all of our profits went for scholarships, but the auction has grown and grown. I remember when the auction would net $8-9,000, and now it’s up to $50,000 most years.”
The Lodge at Hinson Lake was built by the local chapter of Rotary during the Rotary International’s 100th year. The lake also features a well-maintained walking trail around its perimeter.
“They wanted each club to do something significant and long lasting in their community, so we built the lodge,” Morris explained. “It’s used over 40 weekends per year, and is being maintained by the City of Rockingham.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Morris remarked of the BBQ and auction. “We get tired and it’s a long day on your feet, but it’s always enjoyable because you know the money is going for a good cause.”