Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Pregame tradition

Boosters’ barbecue raises funds for LHS students

September 6, 2007

It's definitely not a new tradition for the Lansing Booster Club, and in fact, many people can't even remember when it was started, but the pregame barbecue has become a staple in many Lion fans' lives.

Before each home football game, among a sea of red and black, the grill is heated and the hamburgers and bratwursts are cooked, as fans line up for some pregame tailgating in support of their team.

Teana Hundley, president of the Booster Club, said the community has been great to the club, and its response to the pregame cookout has made it a huge success. She said the barbecue created an exciting atmosphere to get people pumped up for that night's big game.

Each meal costs $5 and includes a hamburger, bratwurst or hot dog, a bag of chips, dessert and a drink. Robyn Dorf, a Booster Club officer, said she estimated that the club served about 150 meals at each game.

Dorf said what was great about the money that is raised at Booster Club events such as the home-game cookout, was the fact that 100 percent went back to all the students of Lansing High and Middle schools. She said the goal of the Booster Club was to give support to all students, not just those participating in sports.

To increase the amount of support it can give, however, Hundley said the Booster Club added a new tradition this year to the football game activities called the Fifty-Fifty fundraiser.

At each home game, three commercial sponsors donate an initial $100 in return for a 30-second advertisement during the half-time show. Raffle tickets are sold to fans before the game for $2. At halftime a winning ticket is drawn and that person and the Booster Club split the pot that included the sponsor's donations and the raffle ticket proceeds.

At the first football game of the season, Friday, Aug. 31, the winner of the Fifty-Fifty raffle was Darlene Johnson, who was awarded $383.

Hundley said the Booster Club's fundraising tactics were all in an effort to support school spirit. There are about 150 registered members of the club who Hundley said could take credit for many of the great things they've been able to provide for the schools.

Last year, the club raised money to buy the new suit worn by the mascot. The Booster Club also takes several fund requests from teachers and clubs as well as hosting hospitality rooms, buying a defibrillator for the high school and cleaning the National Honor Society robes.

One person who is quite familiar with all the accomplishments of the Booster Club is avid supporter Bill Russell of Leavenworth. Russell was president of the club in the 1970s and said that since then he has tried to attend as many events as he could to show support for Lansing schools.

He said back in his days with the Booster Club, there were no pregame barbecues for the fans. He said there weren't as many parents and students involved as there are now, so the club did smaller events like a watermelon feed after the first football scrimmage.

He said he liked the idea for the barbecue and plans to attend every home game this season. He said while some things like the cookout have definitely changed for the better, there was one change he would like to make.

Club members used to all have official, red Booster Club jackets that they wore to events. He said now, club members they just wear different Lansing school T-shirts, which for him "doesn't really cut the mustard."

But that's just about his only complaint because he said he was hopeful the football team was going to have a pretty successful year.

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