Lyle Area Cancer Auction co-chair Larry Ricke calls out a bid on a T-shirt during the auction’s opening night last year in Lyle. -- Herald file photo
Lyle Area Cancer Auction co-chair Larry Ricke calls out a bid on a T-shirt during the auction’s opening night last year in Lyle. -- Herald file photo

Another year of fighting cancer: Lyle Area Cancer Auction returns this weekend

Published 10:58am Tuesday, January 14, 2014

After counting the money raised through the Lyle Area Cancer Auction last January, Larry Ricke told fellow co-chair Teresa Slowinski they should recount.

They couldn’t quite believe the auction had raised $200,000 — the highest total ever.

As LAC leaders prepare for the 35th auction this Friday and Saturday, Ricke still describes last year as unforgettable and unbelievable.

“Truthfully, I don’t know how we did it,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m still in awe.”

This year’s auction starts at 6 p.m. Friday and will continue until around midnight or 1 a.m. The auction resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs until the last item sells, typically between 1 and 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

“It’s going to be fun, and I hope everybody can make it,” Ricke said.

Ricke and organizers are optimistic about this year’s auction, but they not going into the auction expecting to surpass $200,000 for the second time.

“We can’t expect miracles every year,” Ricke said.

Maggie Davis, 10, was all smiles when her mother Joed won cat food, a bowl and cat toy.
Maggie Davis, 10, was all smiles when her mother Joed won cat food, a bowl and cat toy.

Still, the auction has raked in six figures for 10 straight years, and it has raised just under $1.8 million in its history.

Ricke credited the dedicated volunteers who run separate events each year for the continued success of the auction, noting such volunteers have friends in different communities and help get more people involved.

About 10 events were held last year outside the auction, like the Crop for a Cure, Quilting for a Cure and the Lucille Johnson Pool Tournament. Twenty-three events overall were held last year for the 34th auction, which included the beer tasting, massage and haircuts during the auction.

Plus, Ricke credit the auction’s boom over the last decade to using the city of Lyle’s maintenance building, which is adjacent to the Lyle Legion, as it allows for more people to attend the auction.

Money raised in Lyle Area Cancer Auction
Money raised in Lyle Area Cancer Auction

Many items have already been donated for this year’s auction. A $5,000 gift certificate for braces from Overby Orthodontics will be auctioned off, as will a two-day trip to Las Vegas. The family that bought a wooden semi with a grain trailer built by Chuck Berg donated the semi back to the auction this year.

“Everybody knows Chuck Berg’s stuff and it goes for quite a bit of money,” Ricke said.

The Harley Raffle will return this year, and the winner will be selected at 10 p.m. Saturday.

The money from the auction is donated through the Eagles Fifth District Cancer Telethon, which is Saturday and Sunday at Rochester’s Mayo Civic Center. LAC leaders typically make a pledge early Sunday afternoon in Rochester.

Lyle Area Cancer Auction volunteer Galen Holst stacks more items for the auction
Lyle Area Cancer Auction volunteer Galen Holst stacks more items for the auction

Money from the auction mostly stays local, with much of it going to The Hormel Institute, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

The auction is down a few volunteers this year, and they’re looking for more people to help out. People interested in volunteering can call Ricke at 507-438-7984 or Slowinski at 507-440-0314.

Organizers prefer new items and antiques as donations, rather than used items. People interested in donating can contact Ricke or Slowinski, or items can be dropped at the Lyle American Legion on Thursday night or anytime during the auction.

Event to accept credit, debit cards for the first time

Paper or plastic — the Lyle Area Cancer Auction is finally accepting both when it comes to payment methods.

Lyle Area Cancer Auction co-chair Larry Ricke announced the auction will accept credit and debit cards for the first time this year.

Ricke guaranteed it would be secure, as the auction will use a system used by many small businesses and nonprofits. Ricke described the system is simple and secure.

“I’m like, ‘Why didn’t we do this a long time ago?’” Ricke said.

Ricke said he hopes the credit/debit card machine will be a boon in attracting more donations, as he noted people have been positive about adding the service in the past.

Credit and debit card transactions will come with a 2.75 percent fee to cover the cost of the system.


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