LAC auction defies snow storm to raise over $231K

Published 7:00 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

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You just can’t make this stuff up.

On a weekend where the winter’s first storm dogged the area through Saturday night and illness made things challenging at times, the Lyle Area Cancer Auction came through and raised $231,777.77.

That amount is nearly $20,000 more than last year when winter weather held very little impact on the auction.

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“Oliver strong,” co-chair Larry Ricke said Monday with a laugh, referring to Gary Ziegler’s love of the Oliver 77 tractor. Ziegler passed suddenly late last year and had been an integral part of the LAC over the years.

Like in year’s past, the LAC and a multitude of other organizations and benefits contributed their earnings to the Eagles Cancer Telethon, which was also held over the weekend and generated nearly $1 million this year, coming in at $980,000 grand total.

The LAC is part of a strong donation base from District 5 and joined the likes of the Geneva Cancer Austin, which donated $166,000 and the Hayfield Cancer Auction, which in its first year raised nearly $30,000.

With this 45th year under their belt, the LAC is now nearing the $3.8 million mark.

“There was a lot going on,” Ricke said. “The headcount was down because of the weather, I’m sure. Obviously the money was still there.”

Each year the LAC is filled with memories and special occasions, but this year’s had a little something extra, which Ricke cheekily referred to Friday night before the auction opened and hinted that it would take place sometime on Saturday, denying shouts for exact times.

A bit of a joke and some fun led to the reveal of a donation for $10,000 by the Halverson family, which was to be added to the Farm Boy BBQ total of just over $10,000 raised last spring for a grand total of $20,000.

“Darwin Small and I, we kept it a secret,” Ricke said, adding that he asked Tim Halverson if they could have a little bit of fun with it.

And so, Saturday afternoon Ricke and Small began bidding against each other over ribs, which started at $300, not uncommon at the LAC auction. When the bidding got to $1,200 the bids began raising by $100 until they got to $10,000 when the real story was told.

Up until that point, Ricke said the crowd was starting to get a little restless until they neared the end of their prank.

“‘Okay, you guys know I like to have fun and I’m telling ya, I played a prank and we got you all,’” Ricke recalled telling the crowd. 

This year’s barbecue will take place on April 6 in Lyle.

However, this weekend’s money wasn’t just from the auction itself. Satellite events also contributed large sums of money to the auction. For example, the Lucille Johnson Pool Tournament, held in Carpenter, Iowa, donated a little over $42,000, the Cropping for a Cure event just over $17,000 and the Quilting for a Cure event just over $6,000.

And these were just a small number of the outside groups donating. The raffle for a side-by-side generated $28,000.

“I know I’ve said this in the past, the LAC has a great reputation for this area,” Ricke said. “It brings the community together to raise money for a great cause. Everybody has been touched and everybody wants to do something about it.”

At the same time, Ricke said that he does have a hope for the future and that’s to drive the volunteer base, especially with the younger volunteers.

“My hope that I have is, we create more volunteers that will come and help and we’ve had some new ones this year,” he said. “Even if it’s an hour. Even if it’s two hours or two days. We don’t care, but we need core volunteers.”