Lyle Area Cancer Auction co-chair Larry Ricke calls out a bid on a t-shirt during the auctions opening night Friday in Lyle.

Archived Story

For leaders, auction is more than a two-day commitment

Published 4:39pm Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lyle Area Cancer Auction co-chair Larry Ricke loses his voice for about three days every January.

Along with being co-chair and the auction’s emcee, Ricke is one of the “ringers” at the auction, shouting out as people bid and coaxing them to bid each other up. This year Ricke wants to return a little to his roots and place more of his own emphasis on that.

“I don’t care what I do, I’m going to lose my voice Friday night because I’m going to have fun ringing,” Ricke said recently, adding he’ll give up some of his emcee duties if he has to.

But Ricke isn’t quick to take credit.

“It’s not about me,” he says.

The auction is an exhausting experience for the core group of about a dozen organizers. They dedicate much of their own time to making sure the event is a success, but most agree they have a blast doing it. LAC committee members work hard to ensure everyone attending and bidding has fun, too.

“If you’re going to raise money for something, why not have fun doing it,” Ricke said.

If the auction is boring, Ricke admits it’d be tough to get people in town and bidding on items.

“You don’t want it to be boring,” Ricke said.

Many people see the auction as a two-day to three-day event, with the auction on Friday and Saturday followed by a pledge at the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester on Sunday.

But for core LAC leaders, the auction takes up much more time. Ricke estimated the core group of roughly a dozen committee members spend at least 40 hours setting up for the auction and then cleaning up after.

In early January each year, Ricke and other organizers take a day off work and solicit donations from businesses and organizations around town. Then the Wednesday before the auction, Agri-Steel workers help clean out the maintenance building by pressure-washing the build and then cleaning out the city of Lyle’s road equipment, which they store at Agri-Steel during the auction.

Then, LAC organizers can start preparing the shelves, stage, items and food for the auction.

Agri-Steel and LAC leaders then help cleanup again Monday.

“It’s really a lot to prepare for two days of an auction,” Ricke said.

Once the building is cleaned, Co-chairs Russ and Teresa Slowinski also do a lot of the work to organize and set up for the auction, along with some of the other LAC leaders.

That doesn’t include all the time spent on LAC’s other events throughout the year.

When asked what keeps the core group of organizers coming back each year, Ricke joked that it was “insanity.”

He admitted the auction does cut into some of the time he’d spend hunting and fishing, but it’s for an important cause.

“Cancer affects everyone,” Ricke said.

There are many reminders of that. While the auction is a great time, Ricke said it’s also a difficult time of year, as he seems to learn about many friends and people who are fighting cancer.

“I hate that part,” he said.


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