Each year on Friday before Super Bowl, a crowd of approximately 600 sit down to enjoy slices of filet mignon coated in butter and placed on a piece of bread , while enjoying a get-together with old friends, and hoping to win a nice prize or perhaps get a famous “I got hosed” t-shirt as a loser during the evening’s festivities.
Thirty years ago, Lion Jack Nagel suggested having a Sports Night along with a beefsteak dinner. One of his senior members claimed that “no one is going to pay $25.00 for a ticket to a beefsteak dinner”. The Club decided to do it anyway and sold 171 tickets for a $1,589.00 profit. Since its inception, almost 15,000 tickets have been sold and the Club has raised over $473,000. Lion Nagel still organizes the event each year and has been its emcee since its beginning.
The highlight of the evening in the early years was having a pro Sports figure, usually from the Giants football team, as a guest speaker. As the attendance numbers grew and the Club needed a larger venue, which they found in a nearby community, a different approach was taken with emphasis on a series of games to provide the evening entertainment. Games like Super Bowl Trivia, Nerf Football Toss, and the Club’s own brand of “Let’s Make A Deal” became the standard.
In addition to raising funds to support the various charities and community programs, the event in a single evening has raised monies to purchase protective vests for the borough’s police officers and contributed to LCI for its Hurricane Katrina effort. The Wood-Ridge Lions Club Annual Sports Night Beefsteak Dinner now enters its third decade and continues to be a premier and regularly sold-out event.