The Great Steak Challenge rebounded from last year, exceeding the amount of meals sold and raising over $27,000 for the School District of Reedsburg’s activities department.
In an Oct. 4 email, Viking Village Foods General Manager Pam Coy said the total dinners sold were 2,761, exactly 100 more than last year.
The Reedsburg grocery store will present the activities department with a check for $27,820, the most money the event’s raised in its 12 year history, at half-time during the high schools homecoming game against Waunakee Oct. 4 at Millennium Field. The total includes the steak feed’s profits, donations, $2,500 pre-ticket sale match by First Weber Foundation and the 32 business taking the $500 challenge. Last year, over $18,000 was raised from last year’s challenge.
During the challenge Oct. 2, about 75 to 100 volunteers wore red shirts with the slogan “We are Beaver Nation” written in white letters across the front.
School District of Reedsburg Activities Director Bryan Yager said this year’s slogan was to represent the community coming together to support raising money for the activities department, whether through volunteering, purchasing a dinner or businesses who committed their time and money towards the effort.
“Everybody is a part of it,” Yager said.
Volunteers helped out in many ways. Standing in an assembly line building sandwiches, scooping out baked beans and coleslaw into a plastic containers and a separate line for assembling junior beaver meals. Others cooked steaks and hot dogs on the grill. Some walked to multiple cars lining the drive thru to take orders while others organized meals for dine in and drive thru orders.
All to attempt beating the 2,661 meals sold at last year’s Great Steak Challenge to receive the additional $16,000 from 32 sponsors committing to donate $500 each if they met that goal. The number excluded any profits or additional donations that could add to the amount.
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Yager said it was humbling for the community and businesses to commit that type of generosity, the same trait he said he’s seen in the community throughout the 20 years he’s been with the school district.
When rain started to fall at about close to 5 p.m. the drive thru’ s two lanes backed all the way into Viking Drive for those on the go to purchase a meal. Coy was confident the event would hit this year’s goal. Yager estimated about 1,500 meals were sold by 5 p.m.
Some volunteers had helped at the event for multiple years like Jacob Kleeber, a 2016 graduate of Reedsburg Area High School. It was his fifth time volunteering for the challenge, something he does to help the community.
“I love helping the community,” Kleeber said. “It’s fun.”
Richard and Louise Boyd of Reedsburg said they always attend the Great Steak Challenge to purchase a meal because their grandchildren attend the school district and to support the activities department.
Yager said all of the money raised is spent on items, like uniforms, equipment and entry fees, or other items the department may need during the school year.