Celebrity auction brings in cash, laughs and entertainment to Parhump

More than a dozen local “celebrities” generated upward of $14,000 for a local non-profit agency, as the annual Nye County Celebrity Auction got underway on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Pahrump Nugget.

The popular event serves as a fundraiser for Pahrump’s No to Abuse organization.

Those on the auction block were a veritable who’s who among area elected officials, business owners and local media figures.

The No to Abuse agency offers assistance for victims of domestic violence.

Executive Director Salli Kerr said she was extremely happy about how well the auction was received this year.

“We had a wide-ranging panel of celebrities, offering a wide variety of exciting packages,” Kerr said following the event. “We raised over $14,000, or probably more than that. I haven’t received the final figures from table sales, but we had a full room, and reached capacity for the event.”

Kerr also said a tentative date has already been set for the 2018 Celebrity Auction.

“We have planned next year’s event for October 13,” she noted. “I think it was especially fitting that people got the opportunity to show Ski Censke their appreciation, and that his own surprise auction brought the highest proceeds of the night. There is no way to say thank you to those who were so generous to our organization, the celebrities that were willing to put themselves up for auction and the generous folks that bid on them. I’m sure that there are many happy people that will be enjoying their celebrity and package in the upcoming months.”

The auction was conducted by Clark County Public Auctioneer Ron Gipson and longtime veteran auctioneer Ski Censke, who provided sharp one-liners and zingers to the audience throughout the evening.

“I think this recent auction was no different from the ones we’ve held in the past,” Censke noted. “From the very beginning, and all the way to the end, I think it was just stomach-wrenching laughter throughout the evening. Each one of these auctions seems to get bigger. We also get a lot of new people participating. I thought this year’s celebrity auction made for an amazing evening.”

One of the 15 individuals, who generated top dollar while on the auction block, was Don Trudeau of Saitta/Trudeau Chrysler Jeep Dodge dealership, who was sold for $1,200.

Trudeau offered a package consisting of a full auto detail, lube and oil change, along with dinner.

Kathie McKenna and Ramon Abueg of Valley Electric Association’s executive staff were auctioned off for $1,300.

The bidder will enjoy a private full-course gourmet dinner with the two.

Pahrump Valley Times Publisher Noah Cusick was auctioned off for $1,200 and offered a full-page ad, along with lunch for four at a local restaurant.

Assemblyman James Oscarson, who generated $1,800, will provide dinner at Pahrump Valley Winery’s Symphony’s Restaurant, along with a bottle of wine, and an up-close look at the workings of Nevada government during an entire day on the Assembly floor in Carson City.

Two flags flown aloft at the State Legislature building was also part of the package.

Though Oscarson, R-Pahrump, was scheduled to be the last of the auctioned celebrities on Saturday, Gipson and Oscarson revealed a surprise toward the end of the evening, as auctioneer Censki was abruptly put into the spotlight as the final person to be auctioned off.

The announcement came as a big surprise to Censki and those in attendance.

When all was said and done, Censke generated the highest bid of the evening, bringing in a total of $2,000.

“At the end, District 36 Assemblyman James Oscarson was sold for $1,800,” Censki said. “After that, I think there was a conspiracy between Mr. Oscarson and Ron, where I would be auctioned off, and I had no idea they were going to do this. With his auctioning skills, and the generosity of the crowd, Ron brought in $2,000, which was the top bid of the night.

“There is mixed opinion on whether it was his auction skills that brought in the $2,000, or the generosity of the crowd. I happen to think it was a little bit of both. Ron started in the auction business when he was just 16 years old. He is probably one of the top auctioneers in the state right now. He really reinforced that on Saturday night when he rained on my parade.”

Additionally, Censke took time during the event to tip his hat to Pahrump’s local media outlets for their respective, continued coverage of the event over the years.

“One of the things that I think was very important, was the cooperation of the community, to the point where I personally acknowledged the attendance of the local media here in town,” he said. “Without the media in Pahrump, you are going to have to rely on the internet, which as we all know at times, is not very reliable or accurate. On Saturday, we had a great turnout from both of the Pahrump Valley Times, the Pahrump Mirror, and KPVM Channel 46.”

After all was said and done, Censki noted that many of the attendees attended the fundraiser for the first time.

“I noticed there were a lot of new faces in the audience this year, and based on the conversations I had with some of them, they are already asking when next year’s celebrity auction will be scheduled. As far as raising money, I think it was probably one of the largest auctions that we’ve had since it started many years ago. There were also a lot of individuals who gave up their time to take the opportunity to be auctioned off. Whenever you can combine just an amazing evening of entertainment and raise that kind of money, it is a win-win situation.”

Censki also spoke of the importance of the No To Abuse organization, in regard to the continued community outreach and support for victims of domestic violence.

“Especially during the holiday season, it’s sad that we see a spike in the number of domestic violence cases in our community,” he said. “Whenever we can put that many people in a room, and we raise what I consider a phenomenal amount of money for the local No To Abuse organization, it really, really makes for a great evening, along with the entertainment.”

Along with the celebrity auction, funds were generated by the purchase of a specialty carrot and Reese’s chocolate dessert cakes, which sold for $200 and $825 respectively.

Contact Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com