Lyle auction raises $118,000

Published 10:46 am Monday, January 19, 2009

LYLE — How big is the annual Lyle Area Cancer Auction fundraiser?

Answer: It was broadcast live on the Internet and watched as far away as Montana and Australia.

When co-chairman Larry Ricke danced with Kathleen Helgeson, the hijinks were viewed by Jeremy Sampson in Australia.

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Jeremy’s parents, Jerry and Diane Sampson, streamed video coverage of the weekend events at the American Legion Post No. 105 to the world wide web.

“We don’t know what implications this has for future auctions,” Ricke said, with obvious understatement.

Why not let the whole wide world see what happens each January in the Legion Post and city maintenance shed at Lyle?

This year, they would have seen volunteers collect $118,000 for cancer research.

That brought the 30-year total raised at the fundraising events to $1,154,000.

The money goes to the Fifth District Minnesota Eagles Cancer Telethon that was broadcasted Saturday and Sunday over KTTC Channel 10, Rochester.

When the telethon went off the air Sunday afternoon, Bob Callier, the Fifth District telethon administrator for 51 years, reported unofficially, the 2009 telethon raised $726,921. The proceeds are shared by Mayo Clinic, Hormel Institute and University of Minnesota Hospital.

“I was quite surprised,’ said Jessie Meyer, co-chairperson of the 2009 LACA. “The tough economic times, the weekend’s weather, I didn’t know how well we would do.”

The auction began Friday night and continued Saturday afternoon and evening. The last item was auctioned at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

“There must have been 75 to 100 people still around at that time,” Ricke said.

The 2009 total was the fourth highest raised in the three decades history of the fundraising event: Only $127,500, $122,000 and $120,000 totals topped this year’s effort.

For the last five years, the annual fundraiser has surpassed $100,000 in total proceeds.

An estimated 55 percent of the funds raised comes from the 20 hours of weekend auction fun.

Other fundraisers are held during the year to supplement the amount raised in January.

Carpenter, Iowa volunteers held another pool tournament Jan. 9-11 and raised $30,000.

Another new fundraiser, a Crop For A Cure scrapbooking event held in December raised $3,500.

“We couldn’t do what we do each year with just the auction. It’s the biggest single event, but we need the other events, too,” Ricke said.

More details about the weekend’s fundraising and amounts raised from the individual events will be revealed at a wrap-up appreciation supper for volunteers scheduled 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23, at American Legion Post No. 105.

Once again, the auction included its usual fun, excitement and emotion.

Ivan and Mary Witt paid $4,000 for a Chuck Berg-carved grain-hauling wood creation.

A jar of Faye Strouf’s canned pickles brought $350.

Even the co-chairpersons have a hard time explaining what happens at Lyle on a cold winter’s weekend each January.

“It’s just something you have to experience to understand,” Meyer said.

“The people who come know what it is like to be a part of it.”

“Unbelievable,” Ricke said. “It’s just unbelievable what people can do.”