Saturday, September 21, 2019
Sisters Emmerson Nelson, 8, and Raegan Nelson, 3, spin the wheel on one of the games featured at the Blooming Prairie Education Foundation's 16th Annual Auctions on Saturday at the Pizza Celler and Cue Company.

Huge crowd brings in $76K at BP Ed Auctions

3rd highest total in 16 years

Calculators were buzzing as bids were tabulated last Saturday night at the 16th Annual Blooming Prairie Education Foundation staged at the Cue Company and Pizza Cellar.

Preliminary totals revealed earnings of $76,500 for the 2019 auctions, which ranks as the third highest total in the history of the huge community fundraiser.

Last year's auctions brought in over $68,000. This total was close to the previous year of 2017, which was $70,000.

The record fundraising total was set in 2014 at $83,800. The second highest auction total was recorded in 2016 at $79,700.

"We are always super happy with the results and never set a goal before the annual auctions," remarked Julie Noble, past president of the BP Education Foundation and currently a board member.

"We never know what to expect each year, but we are always pleased with the efforts of many," said Karen Fouarge, auction committee chair. Fouarge said 55 volunteers helped make this event another success.

Items were still being sold up until 12:30 a.m. Sunday. "It was a long night but we had a lot of hardy bidders left at the Cue," Noble said.

The live auctions began following a song performed by a group of 25 elementary and high school teachers.

Fouarge and Noble said this year's donation total was most likely the highest total ever. There were 211 live auction items and 203 silent items for a total of 414 auction items.

All items were donated, thus all proceeds are profit.

A quilt made by Blooming Prairie Elementary School secretary Julie Naats in memory of BP Elementary School first grade teacher Rachel Harberts and her daughter Emerson Harberts was the high ticket item for the evening, drawing $2,400. Lonnie and Mandy Lembke were the successful bidders.

Both Rachel Harberts and her daughter Emerson, a third grade at BP Elementary School, died from injuries suffered in a car crash Sept. 7.

Four baskets in memory of the Harberts's were also auctioned.

Pick of the auction was won by Erik Vigeland. He chose a walleye fishing trip with Brett King.

Elementary school student Montgomery Mausbach won the raffle to be the poster child for the 2020 auction.

Auction chair Fouarge and Noble said this year's silent auction brought in $11,000, the highest total ever collected on the silent auctions. Previous silent auction high was $9,000.

The BP Education Foundation is a non-profit organization created by a group of fiscally conservative community members. Mission of the Foundation is "to enhance the educational opportunities for the students of ISD 756."

Funding for the Foundation is possible through the generous contributions of community members, alumni, business and other charitable organizations.

The Foundation uses its resources to fill voids in programs by adding to the education experiences of the students of ISD 756.

Proceeds from the auctions will be used to fund allocations requested from the BP School District and from teachers. The allocation requests are made twice a year. About 50 are allotted each year, Noble said.

The funds are used to support technology advances, field trips, robotics team at the high school, Lego project at the elementary school, purchase of 3D printers for the high school and elementary, etc.

Retiring BP Schools Superintendent Barry Olson has been part of all 16 BP Education Foundation auctions. "The support given the school by this Foundation is remarkable," Olson said.

Monies from the auctions help provide some unique programing including the Lego projects and Robotics, said Superintendent-designate Chris Staloch.

Staloch, currently serving as BP Elementary principal, said "the cool thing" about this fundraising by the BP Ed Foundation is that it shows "tremendous" community support. The community comes together as a group, he said.

Sue Zwiener of New York Life Insurance is founder of the BP Ed Foundation auctions. "She got it going and she is still a key supporter of the auctions," Noble said.

Many of the donated items are dropped off at New York Life. Agent Rachel Klemmensen helps with the inventorying of the items. "These are just two examples of the volunteerism in this community," Noble stated.

The auction committee includes Karen Fouarge, Julie Noble, Sue Zwiener, Becky Noble, Miranda Camery, Lori Arndt, Becky Braaten, Jennifer Walsh, Dave Hoffman, Pam Hameister, Karen Frank, Betti Johnson, Rachel Klemmensen, Sue Helgeson, Mary Kittelson, Judy Bishop, Lori Lysne and Becky Hoffman.

Announcers, auctioneers and ring men helping during the evening were: Justin Krell, Josh Toquam, Mark Ditlevson, Steve Seykora, Robby Remker, Angie Carlson, Jeremy Simon, Mike Studer, Dustin Doocy, Jon Kraling and Dave Hoffman.

Current BP Education Foundation members are: Mark Larkoski (president), Karen Fouarge (secretary), Lori Arndt (treasurer) and fellow board members Julie Noble, Roger Sorenson, Josh Toquam, Isreal Wacek, Judy Bishop, Lisa Bruns, Barry Olson, Chris Staloch, Carrie Farr, Pam Hameister, Sue Helgeson, Barb Kaplan, Andrew Kasperek, Rachel Klemmensen, Rod Krell, Bill Rinkenberger, Payton Simon, Jenn Kelner and Viridianna Villarreal.

"It's always amusing to see what the items draw for bids," said Noble and Fouarge.

Check out the BP Ed Foundation Facebook page to see what price a particular item drew. Here's some examples:

            • Favorite brunch, $1,000 -- donated by Lori Lysne and Sue Helgeson and other donors.

            • Buckets of shots, $750

            • Football memory quilt, $1,000, bought by Lonnie Lembke -- Made by Lisa Bruns and others

            • Redneck Yacht Club outing, $1,050

            • Tables for next year's auction -- 3 of those -- $1,500 range for each

            • H. Peterson painting, $1,000 -- watercolor of wintry scene

            • Petunia the Pig, auctioned off, business to business, $875 three different times

            • Authentic Mexican meal, $500, donated by Andrea Kvalsten,

            • Luau, $800, Rick and Chris Klemmensen and Jay Klemmensen, Travelin' Picnic Tables, Superior Foods Catering.


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Steele County Times & DCI

Steele County Times
411 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 247
Blooming Prairie, MN 55917

Dodge County Independent
121 West Main St.
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
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Kasson, MN 55944


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