I’m an Aggie Fan-atic

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.


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  1. You look mahvelous! And I am so envious of the In N Out business. We don’t have them on this coast, and they are my favorite.

  2. WOW! I’m impressed with amount of money that was raised!
    I especially like the pic of you and Gunrock – the second one.

  3. Jeff 3

    The picture of Gunrock cracked me up. Something about a horse being in a tux over Kentucky Derby weekend (yes I am easily easily entertained).

    I have never ever seen and In and Out oh the midwestern joys.

    Looks like an awesome occasion and I agree the pool table would make an excellent dining room table.

  4. So jealous right now…I miss In-N-Out burgers so much. There is nothing that compares here on the east coast…

    I love Pinot Noir so I’m going to look for that one you got. It sounds great and the label is very cool (yes, I’m one of those people. I’m drawn to very cool, artistic labels).

  5. You looked fabulous! Your hair does look a little shorter…

    Glad you were able to find some wine that you liked. The event looks like a lot of fun!

  6. grace 6

    wow, i’d definitely consider that a success!

    confession: i’d rather eat at applebee’s than a lot of other higher-end places. it rarely disappoints! :)

  7. 2 things, alright, 3…First and most importantly, WOW – Larry did a fabulous job and deserves the high praise, the place looked beautiful!!! Second, Cathy dear, you looked STUNNING yourself, that dress was gorgeous, your hair was perfect and the lipstick, I hate you, how did you find THE SHADE? I’ve searched for years. Third….crap. CRAP. There was a third and now I forgot. Le sigh. Maybe I’ll be back, if I remember, the sudden descent of my in-laws has left me brain fried.

  8. I can’t do a sit down dinner for more than six people. Overseeing that affair would send me around the bend. Nicely done!

  9. What a fabulous night!

  10. Wow! HUGE event! And what fun it must have been!

    You look fantastic!!!

  11. Elle 11

    What a fun evening! And it looks like you got some good loot to take home. :)

  12. Mike 12

    Sounds like you had a fun night and lol, 3 years of burgers–that’s a lot of burgers! Good haul

  13. It looks like you did well. I wouldn’t mind a year’s supply of hamburgers.

  14. Sounds like the evening was both fun and successful. And that wonderful B&B you mentioned, I’m intrigued. I’ll have to check it out!

  15. Oh fun – sounds like a very well organized event. Free burger and fries is a bit dangerous. Did I miss the post where you show us your wine storage/collection? Where do you put 400 bottles (+ a full case)?

  16. Liz C. 16

    You look so adorable. Don’t ask why I pictured you as a blonde, lol.

    I love silent auctions but Mr. Snooty abhors them & tries to block me from bidding, which never works.

    Fabulous looking event. Great pictures too. I need a new camera…

  17. Greta 17

    You are totally supercute!

  18. Now that’s an event! Wow!! You look so pretty in your perfect party dress!

  19. Medena 19

    What a read, and what fun you had! Great event, and awesome results. You look fabulous!
    I understand the Wild Boar—I love shooting pool—love, love (but I suck atit *hahaha*)! Still, I love it!
    OK, about the wine….400 bottles!!! I’m going to need your address :)

  20. Jessica 20

    A pool table? Nice! lol.

  21. I heard Mendocino is beautiful. Will be nice to stay in a B&B there. And what- one year of IN-and-Out, I would like to have that too! Miss IN-and-Out so much now that I’m away from CA.

  22. Oh, what a great night you must have had! UC Davis has put out some great vintners. I have not heard of Gatos Locos (although I used to live nearby) ~ wonder if I can get that here. I’ll have to check. Thanks for sharing your West Coast goings-on! You’re keeping me in the loop over here. :)

  23. giz 23

    What a great event! Why didn’t they have these events when I was an athlete? Maybe because it was 100 yrs ago. Love the necklace.

  24. How did I spend 3 years in grad school and another 7 years on the faculty at UCD and never once set eyes on that bright blue horse??

  25. Hey, a fellow Aggie! I wonder how many of us are out there in the food blogging world.

  26. Emiline 26

    Hey…I was here the other day. I really like your blog. I’ll be back, fo sho.

    This looks like a fun event. Tyler Florence would be proud of you.

  27. Bummer about Maui . . . but it looks like you walked with some good wins!

  28. You are BEAUTIFUL! and not a bit fat. What a wonderful party and anything from Santa Cruz makes me sigh. Just how did I get here again?

  29. Lucky. In-N-Out. We don’t have that here…

    By the way – LOVE your necklace. Love.

  30. Deb 30

    Good Job Cathy! I love and miss those events. When living in Ohio, I attended one every year at the Cincinnati Wine Festival. But here in Key West..na da:( Oh well…I enjoyed hearing and seeing yours!

  31. Look at how lovely you are! What a fun event! :)

  32. Mrs. L 32

    Since my Grandma still lives in Davis, I’ll have to ask her about this, sounds like a fun event (which when I was born there, they didn’t have :)


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