Woodward, Okla. —
The Woodward Elks Rodeo Committee will be hosting its annual benefit and dance at the Elks Lodge Saturday.
Rodeo Committee Chairman Neil Day said, "I believe this will be our 13th year to put this one. In that time we've raised over $325,000."
Day said the benefit and dance began as an effort to raise money for the family of the late rodeo committee member Jim Washmon after he died of a sudden heart attack. Day said members the decided to continue the fundraiser as a means of benefiting the community.
Since then, the Elks have used money raised from the benefit for worthy causes such as the Western Plains Youth Shelter and the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum. This year their focus will be on aiding the Woodward Ministerial Alliance and the Woodward Main Street Organization.
"The Woodward Ministerial Alliance performs a lot of philanthropic work, and the Woodward Main Street Organization has a few additional things they want to do after the Street Scape project like putting in new benches and nice trash can covers, so we thought they were real worthwhile to support," Day said.
The event will begin at 6:30 pm with a barbecue pork dinner, followed a live auction at 8 p.m. which will consist of more than 35 items.
"We've got some great items, we have pistols, rifles, gun safes, a diamond ring, a sofa, a custom made smoker, cedar furniture, custom made spurs, a German Shorthaired pup, tickets to a Thunder game, lots of things like that," Day said.
A few special trips will be auctioned off as well.
"We've got a fishing trip to Arkansas, and there's the hog hunt in Crawford Okla. The guy conducting that has been on national TV for his hunts before," Day said.
The event will feature a silent auction as well.
"There will be lots of silent auction items too. People can buy tickets and drop them in the bucket near the item they're interested in and try to win," Day said.
Day encourages everyone to come out for the auction.
"There'll be items for everyone's budget. We'll have bake sale items, decorations for the house, and gift cards to local restaurants and businesses. Every little bit helps raise money for the cause," he said.
Day said the auction can turn into quite the event.
"It gets really entertaining to watch the auction. It can get pretty crazy the way items fly out of there," said Day.
After the auction, attendees will be treated to a country dance, with performing band Richie Rodriguez.
Kevin Kornele, vice chair of the rodeo committee, said, "He works off a DJ system and he also sings, a member of our committee saw him perform before and he said it was really something.
"There'll be good music, and its going to be a great time, so people should be sure to come out."
Day added, "it''s a lot of fun, we have good food, good prizes, good music, so everybody's welcome to come out and enjoy."
Tickets for the event will be available at the door, but those who buy tickets early will receive a chance to win a cash drawing that will take place during the event. Tickets can be purchased in advance of the event from rodeo committee members at the Cowboy Tack Shop or the Honk 'n' Holler gas station.