Reaching milestones: LAC makes 40 years, nearing the $3 million total raised mark

Published 10:12 am Saturday, January 12, 2019

For 39 years, the Lyle Area Cancer Auction has raised nearly $3 million for cancer research and they are ready to do it again.

The group will celebrate 40 years next weekend and needs about $184,000 to reach the coveted $3 million mark, up about $12,000 from last year’s total of $172,500. They’ve reached this level 10 years after reaching their first million, a mark that can’t be underappreciated it any sense.

“You know what’s mind-boggling to me?” explained LAC chair Larry Ricke. “It took us 28 years to hit $1 million. Then five years after that, we hit another million and now we’re ready to hit another million.”

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Ricke admitted, however, that he’s cautious about reaching that mark this year, given things like how the tariff situation is affecting farmers across the United States.

Larry Ricke holds out his hand to Carrie King as she thinks about further bidding on a set of towels last year at the Lyle Area Cancer Auction. Eric Johnson/

At the same time, both Ricke and treasurer Teresa Slowinski, are happy because the LAC has already hit its goal — $1.

“I would be blown away,” Ricke admitted. “I would be surprised, but excited. But do we hold that against us? Not one bit. We’ve already raised over $1. We’re happy.”

While that may seem like a low bar,  it’s that sort of optimistic view that has helped LAC grow. And a lot of the credit goes to the people from small towns throughout the area and the spirit they envibe to get things done.

“That’s why we call it the ‘Lyle AREA Cancer Auction,’” Ricke said.

“It’s more of the small towns that started to come together,” Slowinski added. “Cancer itself has been affecting so many people and everybody has a reason for doing this. It’s the joint efforts of our communities in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.”

But the auction has had even a further reach than that. Items auctioned each year number between 1,500 and 1,800 not counting those items that are often re-donated to be bid on again, which happens frequently. That includes a fishing trip to Canada.

Auctioneers have come as far away as Michigan to help.

This type of support has grown in large part by word-of-mouth, but by social media as well.

But organizers always say you can’t experience the two-day event by word-of-mouth. You have to come to the auction to get the full effect.

“I always tell people to get their own opinion and come down” Ricke said. “(Those attending) know they are going to spend money. Cancer is a sad disease, but we have to have fun to raise that money.”

“What it really boils down to is it’s everybody working together,” Slowinski said.

With a fantastic reputation of fun and giving, the LAC is ready to tackle it once again.

“Everybody come,” Ricke said. “It’s a good time.”

The LAC kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, and will go until about midnight (tentatively) and will start again at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 ,and will go until 1 a.m. or until the last object is auctioned off. Both days take place at the Lyle City Maintenance Building/Lyle American Legion.

Money is then pledged to the Eagles Cancer Telethon in Rochester on Sunday, Jan. 20.