Something I anticipate every year is the Aggie Auction. This is an event held at my alma mater, UC Davis, proudly benefiting the school’s athletic department’s grant-in-aid fund helping support UC Davis student athletes.
This event is always a HUGE success and a sell out. This past Saturday night was no different.
Our dear friend, and MC of the event, Larry Swanson, has been in charge of this event years before I ever set my sights on UC Davis.
The amount of time and energy spent on making an event of this magnitude a success, takes on a life of its own. Somehow Larry pulls it off every year.
You would never know the enormity behind Larry’s efforts by how flawlessly he makes it all look. Yes, he has lots of dedicated, hard-working staff but Larry through due diligence, helps raise an enormous amount of money for the school.
The UC Davis ARC Pavilion, where basketball, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics are normally the venue, is transformed into a dimly lit formal event where tuxedos and formal gowns are the norm.
I know this photo is a bit dark but I wanted you to see how massive this affair is. See all the tables? Imagine putting on a sit down dinner for this many people. It’s not easy.
During the banquet dinner a live auction takes place where incredible trips to places such as Australia & New Zealand, the Virgin Islands and Switzerland are sold to the highest bidders. Diamond bracelets and cases of California cult wine are also up for grabs.
Student athletes are dressed in formal wear and serve the dinner. It is always great to see the students come together and make it all happen. They are poised and take a sense of pride in what they are doing.
Before dinner a massive silent auction with over 2000 items takes place above the banquet dinner area.
This is just one shot of the many, many tables that have wines to bid on. There is something for every taste and budget available.
Here I am with my bid number ready to get to work.
One of the best parts of this event takes place while you are walking around bidding on all this great stuff. There are lots of wineries pouring their latest releases, food from the areas best restaurants and caterers, entertainment to watch and raffles to enter. Overall the atmosphere is pleasant without any pressure to purchase items which somehow makes you buy more!
So while there are unbelievable vacations, memorabilia, sports tickets, gift certificates from all kinds of restaurants, athletic equipment, wines and winery tour experiences I always have my sights set on a few things.
However, competition can be fierce and special items are often highly guarded by folks who want to make sure they take them home.
Here are a couple things I was interested in…
A magnum of Joseph Phelps Insignia.
Oh, how I wanted it. I put in a couple of bids but didn’t keep up and it was an item many people were buzzing around.
This was another large format bottle I was longing for. I bid, I moved on, someone else has it at their home. I’m jealous.
The Wild Boar wanted to replace our dining room table with this item. Yeah, somehow that didn’t go over.
Here is the UC Davis Aggie mascot, Gunrock the mustang horse, and I hoofing it up.
Gunrock started horsing around so I had to send him back to stables. Shame on you Gunrock!
So this is what I actually came home with. A case of wine, to accompany the other 400 bottles I already own!
This winery, was pouring their wines at the auction. I had never heard of them before but their 2005 Vine Hill Gatos Locos Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains was outstanding. I couldn’t pass it up. I bid on the case and now it’s mine. Yippee!
I also bid on a two night stay at our favorite B&B in Mendocino, on the Northern California Coast.
We never stay anywhere else when we go to Mendocino. This hotel is in one of the most beautiful spots on the rugged coastline. I’ll be making our reservations today!
Of course we never leave the Aggie Auction without Applebee’s gift certificates. My kids are obsessed with this chain restaurant. Of course I was outbid on the fancy restaurant’s I tried to get in on. Maybe next year…
Here is what the Wild Boar had to have.
Free burger’s and fries for a YEAR from IN-N-OUT burger, the best burger joint around. And this would be fine except he bid on three lots (and probably more) and won them all (there were at least 50 available). So essentially we have three years of burgers and fries gift certificates. I’m going to have to add a few miles to my daily walks with this stuff around.
We also bought 500 raffle tickets for a trip to Maui but we lost! Oh well.
It was a great evening and we enjoyed the fun we had with our table mates and close friends Paul, Tarri, Mike, Jana, Keoki, Scott, Ryan and Larry who was of course way too busy to sit since he was the master of ceremonies and live auctioneer extraordinaire!
Thanks for another great year Aggies, we’ll see you in 2009!
By the time we were leaving, the auction had already grossed a whopping $515,000.00. Good job guys!
And thanks to the UC Davis Baseball and Wrestling team for carrying our wine out to the car! We really appreciated the gesture, and your muscles of course.