By David Rogers. August 25, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Fundraising at almost $15,000 per hour, The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock is doing a California Gold Rush kind of business.
COVER IMAGE: Sold! Auctioneers (L-R: Annie Rasheed, Cullie Tarleton and Jenny Koehn) liquidate opening item, an Ed Vosburgh collectible “catcatcher” for $50. All photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News
In just over two hours, the Rotary Charity Auction tallied “about $30,000” event chairman John Calvin reported to Blowing Rock News late Saturday evening. A wooden pitchfork from the estate of the late Ed Vosburgh, a longtime member of the Blowing Rock Rotary club, was the first of 55 items in the live auction. A sentimental collector’s item for those who knew Vosburgh and his wife, “Tacky,” auctioneer Cullie Tarleton reported to the standing room only audience in the American Legion Building that the former Laurel Park resident called the pitchfork his “catcatcher.” Tarleton explained smiling, “He hated cats!” After active bidding, the pitchfork got the evening’s action started, netting $50 for what has become one of Blowing Rock Rotary’s biggest annual fundraisers.
From an American flag quilt to antique golf clubs and their accompanying leather bag… from Blowing Rock artist Wes Waugh’s “View of Rich Mountain” to a Carolina Panthers football autographed by star middle linebacker Luke Kuechly…from a Kilwin’s ice cream package to a Monkees private party for 10 AND a $250 gift certificate…from fly fishing packages to golf packages — and much, much more. Saturday’s Rotary Charity Auction had something for just about everyone and bargains galore.
One of the signature items in the live auction was photographer Jim Ruff’s framed and mounted, “Sunrise Splendor,” although several other high value items were on the auction block. At a $3,000 retail value, bidding was fast and furious for a one-week stay at Montana’s Carroll Ranch. Local artist Sheila Hancock’s “Red Canoe” oil on canvas painting carried a retail value of $2900.
Before the live auction, nearly 200 silent auction items received bids.
Calvin noted, “Everything sold. Even the four or five items that had reserve prices (minimums) were purchased.”
One hundred percent (100%) of the Charity Auction proceeds are reinvested by Rotary back into the community in the form of grants given by the club. All of the labor to solicit, gather, and organize the auction items, as well as produce the “show” is volunteer and many of the amenities such as food during the event are donated either by club members or people and businesses in the community.
High Country non-profit organizations benefiting from the event include Community Care Clinic, Hospitality House, Hunger & Health Coalition, OASIS Women’s Shelter, Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S., Casting Bread Food Pantry, Western Youth Network, Mountain Alliance, Career Day for Watauga County 7th grade students, college scholarships for Watauga High School students, the Dictionary Project benefiting local schools, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp (RYLA).
Said Calvin, “We especially want to thank not just the people who bought items with their hard-earned money, but also the many folks who contributed those items to be bought. When you think about it, Blowing Rock is a special place with special people caring for one another.”