EAST LIVERPOOL - The Cleveland Browns fans at Moose Lodge 122 are a patient bunch. One could even call them long-suffering.
On Super Bowl Sunday, they were a beleaguered minority amidst a sea of Pittsburgh Steelers fans. But with neither "local" team playing in Super Bowl XLVII, Moose Lodge members celebrated the day in the best way they know how - among family and friends, with a beer and a steak, watching the game on big-screen TVs.
The annual Super Bowl steak dinner/party at Moose Lodge 122 brings out hundreds of football adherents, so much so that 500 steaks have to be ordered, said administrator Butch Duke.
Kay Beaver, of East Liverpool, flips steaks on Sunday at Moose Lodge 122’s annual Super Bowl party. The fraternal lodge buys 500 steaks each year for the event. (Photo by Stephen Huba)
"They look forward to this all year long," Duke said, "We've had one every year since I've been here, which has been 24 years."
The steak dinners served on Sunday - many of them for carry-out - included steak with onions and mushrooms, green beans, a bake potato, coleslaw and bread. All for $10.
In the kitchen cooking, serving and taking orders was an East End family of football fans - Georgeina Emler, a Steelers fan; her daughter, Connie Dickey, a Dallas Cowboys fan; her grandchildren, Steelers fan Renee Dickey and Philadelphia Eagles fan Kevin Dickey; and family friend, Kay Beaver.
"We've been doing this for six years," Renee Dickey said, noting that the family serves from noon to 5 p.m., then spends 90 minutes cleaning up.
"By the time we get home," the 18-year-old said, "pre-game is over, and we watch the second half."
"By the time we're done," her mother said, "I'm ready to go home and go to bed."
Not everyone who goes to the Moose party stays for the whole game. Some enjoy their steak dinner and stay for the first half. Longtime Browns fan Bill Farnsworth, 64, of East Liverpool, and his wife, Punk, 63, come early for the party but watch the game at home.
"The best seat in the house is my recliner," Bill Farnsworth said.
Even though the Farnsworths never miss a Moose Lodge Super Bowl party, what they really want is a Cleveland Browns Super Bowl. Bill Farnsworth hastened to add that the Browns won plenty of national championships before the national championship became known as the Super Bowl.
"They've had their time, and they'll have their time again," he said.
"I feel the Browns will get things together in the next couple years," said Browns fan Tommy Allen, 58, of East Liverpool. "Hopefully, the draft will treat us well."
Allen said he comes to the party mainly for the feeling of camaraderie and friendship among the Moose members. A 30-year member who recently re-joined, Allen said he enjoys "hanging out with the guys and gals and just having a good time."
On Sunday, he was there with his daughters, Jackie and Jessie. Asked if any past Super Bowls were particularly memorable, he said, "Hopefully, this one."
Browns fan Dwayne "Smitty" Smith, 50, of Calcutta, said he normally roots for the AFC representative in the Super Bowl - but not if it's Baltimore or Pittsburgh. This year, he was going with the San Francisco 49ers.
Moose Lodge employee Maria Douglass, 50, of Calcutta, had Super Bowl Sunday off, so she spent it - where else? - at the Moose. "It's fun," she said. "A lot of nice people. It don't matter who's playing."