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BBQ legacy continues with founder’s son, grandsons

Pete Manderfield, left, continues the Manderfield Lions Club barbecue, using the secret chicken marinade created by his father more than 64 years ago. The annual fundraiser has become a Copper Country tradition. (Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette photo)

HOUGHTON — A tradition that began over 60 years ago is continuing. Since Lions Club member Matt Manderfield started the annual Lions Club Chicken Barbecue fundraiser around 64 years ago, it has become a legacy that continues with his son, Pete Manderfield, and two of Pete’s nephews, who are Matt’s grandchildren.

The annual chicken barbecue was conducted Friday, with brisk sales, said Pete Manderfield, who was presiding over the event.

Pete Manderfield now has the secret chicken marinade formula created by his father that has made the barbecue famous throughout the area.

Since the Houghton Lions Club was organized on June 25, 1942, it has grown to become one of the better-known public service nonprofits in Houghton County. Early this summer, it re-organized as the Houghton-Hancock Lions. Just one of the reasons for its local status is its locally legendary barbecued chicken, using the secret marinade recipe created by Manderfield.

In fact, the Lions Club’s giant barbecue pit, outside the Dee Stadium on Lake Street, bears Manderfield’s name, in his honor. It is the location of the fundraiser every year.

Pete Manderfield said his father initiated the barbecue in 1956, then turned the coordinating of the event over to Pete, Pete’s nephews, and the “rest of the Lions Club,” in 1992. Three years later, in 1995, Matt passed away.

The event has always been successful, said Pete, because of the community, as well as the members of the club, and over the fast couple of years, the help of members of the Michigan Tech Huskies football team, who sadly, were not on hand this year, because of the pandemic.

Manderfield said the COVID-19 pandemic has not had an impact on sales.

“They loved it,” he exclaimed. “People were happy that it wasn’t cancelled.”

The proceeds from the fundraiser go toward scholarships for high school students and athletes.

The Houghton-Hancock Lions also recently re-established three used eye glasses donation and recycling collection locations. The collection boxes are located at the Thrivent Office at 101 Quincy St. in Hancock, Superior National Bank Ridgecrest Plaza Branch in Houghton and College Avenue Vision Clinic, also in Houghton.

Vision Clinic Doctors, Ross DuMonthier and Megan Charney, transport the donated glasses to the Ferris State University optical program for evaluation, grading and possible rehabilitation before being recycled. The refurbished glasses are then distributed to needy individuals in impoverished countries.

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