Super breakfast also supports scholars

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat /

The Sonora 49er Rotary Club will present its 27th annual Frank Salel Super Bowl Sunday Scholarship Breakfast, serving three-egg omelets made to order, from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora.

Prize drawings every half hour and a no-host bar also will be featured.

Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children under 12. All prices will be $1 higher at the door.

Advance tickets are available from Ed Oakes at 533-2094, Sam Wheeler at 536-1218 or Kate Segerstrom at 532-1424.

Proceeds will go toward scholarships for Sonora High School students and dictionaries for all Tuolumne County third graders.

Club members, assisted by past members, spouses, children and members of the Sonora High School Interact Club, will serve three-egg omelets made to order and accompanied by side dishes and beverages.

"We haven't changed the menu in 27 years," said Scott Barry, event chairman for more than 20 years.

The breakfast is named for the late Frank Salel, Tuolumne County's best known large-scale chef, who was a tireless community supporter.

He died in 1999 at age 83. While alive, he would also pass out mints and greet every person at the breakfast.

About 1,400 meals are served every year, Barry said. The highest number ever was 1,630 in 1995, when the San Diego Chargers faced the San Francisco 49ers.

The numbers are always higher when a team from San Francisco or Oakland is playing, as will be the case Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers again take the field.

They will take on the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII at the Superdome in New Orleans.

The Ravens were Super Bowl champions in 2000, while the 49ers are five-time champs, claiming their last title in 1994.

"Every time the Niners get in, it increases the number by a couple hundred," he said.

Barry said the club's intention was to host the breakfast for 10 years, then let interest on the proceeds pay for the scholarships.

"It became such a good fundraiser that they just kept it going," he said. "It's actually a lot of fun."

Barry, owner of the McDonald's franchise in East Sonora, was welcomed into the Sonora 49er Rotary Club in March 1989 after four years in Modesto Rotary, at least partially because of his access to prepared and packaged ham, cheese and vegetables.

Prior to Barry's arrival, club members spent a day chopping and shredding the omelet ingredients, which were then refrigerated and transported to the fairgrounds the next day.

Because of that, Barry said the members told him " 'We'd let you in even if we didn't like you.' "

Barry said he continues to lead the effor for two main reasons.

"I'm a big football junkie," he said. "Plus, Frank Salel was very passionate about helping people out and I want to make sure it's done the right way because it has his name on it."

The breakfast will end in plenty of time for people to get back to their television sets for the game's kickoff.

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