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Auction raises $10,000 for middle school gym floor

Fri, Jun 20th, 2003
Posted in Features

Left to right: Lucas Christenson, Royal Anderson, and Taylor Peterson take advantage of a lull in the action to rest before delivering purchases at the auction.

"A dollar on the box to go; now two," was a phrase repeated a multitude of times at the Rushford-Peterson Middle School on Saturday, June 14 as auctioneers Denny Darr and Murray McKinley sold donated goods for over six hours.

Held during Petersons Gammel Dag celebration, the auction successfully raised around $10,000 for a new gym floor at the middle school.

Items included in the auction ranged from a 22-passenger school bus/camper to stamp collections, handmade quilts from several church groups, old flat irons, exercise equipment, furniture, wooden cheese boxes, and an antique wooden change drawer.

The Rushford IGA donated a thirty-second Kemps products shopping spree and a meat bundle that included ground beef, rib eye steaks, brats and pork. Judy Graham became the proud owner of a Hardanger doily given by Susie Nordby.

A rather unique item was the "farmers gazing ball." Bearing a label instructing the purchaser to "place it on a stump and it will bring you good luck," the ball was made of rusty barbed wire rolled into a ball shape. The lucky bidder was able to purchase the gazing ball for a mere $ 13.00.

Maynard Thompson was the successful bidder on a Steve Heiden football card. Thompson, former principal of Rushford-Peterson Middle School, had fond memories of shooting baskets with Heiden when Heiden attended the school. Thompson bought another piece of memorabilia when he purchased the Peterson gazebo float, a replica of the citys gazebo built in 1910. Planning to use it on his farm during seed corn promotions, Thompson commented that he will be keeping the signs and would be willing to share it with the city of Peterson if it was ever needed.

Other old Peterson High School memorabilia auctioned included cheerleader outfits, basketball uniforms, a Peterson Tiger framed "Homer Hankies," and old library books. Auctioneer Darr encouraged bidders to find their names in the old volumes.

In addition to the regular auction, customers could buy hostas and other plants, and food such as barbecues, chips, bars and pops. A silent auction was held in the entrance of the school. The top price ($100) was claimed for a Minnesota Twins basket containing four tickets to an upcoming game and other Twins items. A birdhouse condo sold at the silent auction for $80.00.

Young and old enjoyed themselves as the auction progressed. Janet Oian was heard to comment, "I had so much fun, its awful! I just cant bring it all home!"

Tyler Highum eagerly bid on his favorite offering, a framed Bart Simpson underachiever poster. Novice bidder Andrew Breer, unfamiliar with auction procedures asked, "Now, how do I pay for it?" after receiving his merchandise from the auctioneers youthful helpers.

Lori Peterson commented, "The kids have really gotten into this. When the kids get involved, it means so much more. Some of the kids went to the Peterson Legion to ask for their help. The people at the Legion really appreciated that the kids came." Darr was obviously enjoying himself as he worked the crowd. Trying to get a bid on a wall hanging entitled "When I Grow Old I Shall Wear Purple," Darr commented, "We must not have any old women here today!" Darr and Murray McKinley donated their time to the effort; McKinley was called the night before the auction when organizers realized the immensity of the response from the community.

Lori Peterson related that they had set two days before the auction for people to bring in items. After the first day, all of the bleachers in the gym were filled and organizers spent several hours sorting the donations to make room for the next days items. Peterson said she was very surprised at the number of donations; some had to be turned away. Already in the planning stage is another auction for either this coming fall or next years Gammel Dag.

Although the auction was a lot of work, the organizers also obviously enjoyed themselves. Boxes were labeled with such titles as "Love," a box of heart shaped itemsnote pads, calculators, baskets; "Teatime," a box with 1950s era luncheon plates and cups; and "Happy Hour," a box filled with glasses, corkscrews and empty wine bottles. Furniture got labeled as well. A green velvet chair bore the name Rushford, while a maroon chair was Peterson and a gold rocker bore the name R-P.

Organizer Lori Peterson said Becky Christenson first came up with the idea of an auction in February or March, tossed the idea around with Denny Darr, and soon the auction was a reality.

Student safety is the primary goal of the fundraisers. The old gym floor has been repaired several times with patches including nails. Those nails have now worked loose and pose a safety hazard. The old floor is also full of hills and valleys in the floor surface.

The funds realized from the auction have been deposited in a savings account at the State Bank. Donations have been coming in daily, in part as a result of a fund raising letter sent to Peterson Alumni. The plan is to continue fund raising until a new floor can be purchased ($25,000 for a poly floor or $45,000 for a maple floor). According to Peterson, the Rushford-Peterson Booster Club has allocated $15,000 as well for the project. Anyone wishing to contribute can mail donations to Parent/Student Group, P.O. Box 8, Peterson, MN 55962.

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