ROCKINGHAM – The infamous “going once, twice, sold to the highest bidder” moniker was present and accounted for at the Rockingham National Guard Armory Tuesday night.
After nearly a year of planning and preparation, the 62nd Annual Rotary Club Auction event was held all day Tuesday at the Armory. The annual event successfully raised thousands of dollars for local scholarships and charities, and was undisputedly declared a success by all involved.
The day began around 5 a.m. for a select group of Rotary members and volunteers who were tasked with preparing the chicken and BBQ for the auction’s BBQ plate sale. Why the need for such an early start? Sheer quantity.
As explained by Rotary member, Chuck Cobb, in total, Tommy Deese and his crew prepared over 3,000 pounds of BBQ, while Rotary members, who were stationed at the St. James Catholic Church, worked simultaneously to prepare nearly 1,400 chickens. A helping of either meat then was coupled with coleslaw and potato salad, a roll, and choice of drink to make up the event’s meal plates.
While the cooking crews were hard at work, the event’s other team members were diligently working to set up the Armory in time for the first event of the day: lunch.
Lasting from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, the Auction’s lunch service sold and served over 1,300 plates. Although a many of these plates were sold as take-out orders, those who opted to enjoy their meal at the Armory had the opportunity to sneak a peek at the evening’s live auction items, and participate in the separate silent auction.
The event seemed to swell in size at the beginning of the event’s dinner session, which began promptly at 4:30 p.m. Hundreds of people from all over Richmond County and beyond came through the doors to enjoy a meal and fellowship, as well as the ongoing silent auction and country store.
Like clockwork, at 6:45 p.m., event staff transformed the dining space into the much-anticipated auction block. Then, the action really got started.
With the help of Rotary members, auctioneer and Rotarian, Ronnie Hawks, sold off each one of the event’s 80-plus donated items. Everything from a moped to hand tools and housewares, to furniture and artwork were on the auction block Tuesday night.
“We chose to feature fewer items, but better-quality items, in this year’s auction,” explainedRotary President Elect. Justin Clark. “So far, it seems to be going well. The bids are going a lot higher than they did last year.”
As an additional fundraising element, two different raffle tickets have been on sale for the final few weeks leading up to the Rotary’s biggest annual event. The first raffle had tickets that sold for $5 each, with grand two prizes of a $500 and $1,000 Visa gift card.
Ellen Mabe was one lucky winner of this raffle and took home the $1,000 grand prize. It was impossible for Mabe to hide her smile when asked how she felt about her winnings.
“It feels great,” Mabe exclaimed. “There’s my Christmas shopping money!”
The second, larger, Lucky Four raffle consisted of tickets that each sold for $100. The prizes, however, were substantially larger and gave participants four chances to win prizes ranging from $2,000 to $5,000.
The combination of raffle tickets, BBQ plates, the country store, and silent auction largely contributed to the financial success of the event. Richmond County’s Rotary Club was able to make over $50,000 for local scholarships and charities, before factoring in the money made from the night’s live auction.
Certainly, that is a success to be shared and celebrated by all.