A fast-talking auctioneer, an array of sweet-tooth high rollers and plenty of tasty treats helped the United Way raise more than $6,000 at the third annual Hot Night at The Roosevelt Thursday night.
The event kicked off the fund-raising season for the national charity’s local chapter.
Auctioneer Kendall Terry had bids go from zero to $100 faster than Jeff Gordon on an empty race track.
He was humorous and coercive, and expressed a hint of gentle obnoxiousness.
“Don’t forget the rules,” Terry told guests. “You can’t look at your husband (before bidding). It’s OK for the husband to ask the wife, not OK for the wife to ask the husband.”
The $500 high bid went to a death by chocolate dessert made by Eastern New Mexico University professor Patricia Dobson.
Dobson, who was unable to attend the auction, also sold a dessert of the month certificate for $525.
The United Way raised a total of $6,064, money that will go to 12 agencies in Roosevelt County.
The auction included a meal of either New York strip steak or green chile stuffed chicken. Tickets for the event were $30 — $15 for the food and $15 for the United Way.
The night started off like a scene in a F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, with soft music from the High Winds Jazztet wafting in the room and guests chatting about summer vacations.
But the pace quickly hastened after dinner when Terry took the microphone and guests began making bids on everything from pecan pie to a caramel walnut banana tort.
In some instances a simple nod was enough to thrust a guest into the bidding process.
“Pastor I can really sleep at night doing this,” Terry told a local preacher at the auction.
Terry told one guest: “Take a sip of that wine and then bid.”
And on one occasion Terry had a bidder so confused the bidder asked: “Who am I bidding against?”
“Yourself,” shouted United Way member Rick Hauptmann.
“I have no idea what’s going on,” joked the bidder.
About 50 guests were present, including well-known science fiction writer Jack Williamson, who purchased two desserts for a total of $380.
Hauptmann said this year’s United Way goal was $70,000 and prodded guests to give from their heart.
“The 12 agencies (the United Way funds) support Roosevelt County and we really appreciate your interest in helping this effort,” Hauptmann said.