In a shady grove at the Madera Fairgrounds, just as their past Breakfast Lions Club members have done since the early 1970s, George Hatfield, Scott Gonzalez, Gerry Sullivan and a dozen current members and many of their wives were busy preparing salad, beans and getting the large barbecue ready to grill steaks for the annual Buyers’ Luncheon.
Project chairman and luncheon coordinator Lee Blackstone was making sure everything would be ready by 11 a.m. when nearly 200 livestock buyers would begin to fill the seating area next to the racetrack. Blackstone has been involved with the luncheon for the past 25 years and has been chairman since 2005.
“The Breakfast Lions began this volunteer effort 40 years ago and we enjoy doing it for the buyers that help the kids at the auction,” said Blackstone.
According to Blackstone, in the mid-1980s the lunch was changed to a dinner and the Lions prepared a deep pit barbecue for many years. They also began using a special recipe for beans from members Tom Buckley and Larry Hill, which is still used today...