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Dinner, auction raise $10,000 for Pahrump Valley football

Tamara Trudeau was not going to let a minor detail such as being a couple thousand miles away get in the way of maintaining tradition at the annual spaghetti dinner and dessert auction to benefit the Pahrump Valley High School football program.

For the past three years, Trudeau has brought a “Reese’s Surprise Cake” to the school cafeteria, where Rick Marshall, an assistant wrestling coach at the school, for the past three years has made the night’s highest bid to take home the cake.

But Trudeau was in Michigan and unable to attend the seventh annual event, but that didn’t stop her one bit.

“She had been putting it on Facebook that she was shipping it and hoping it would get here in one piece,” Marshall said after pledging $1,600 to take the cake, which included a cash bonus inside donated by Saitta Trudeau Chrysler Jeep Dodge. “It got here pretty good.”

The bid once again made Trudeau the winner of the Rolling in Dough trophy for making the dessert that brought in the highest bid, while Marshall and his wife will be treated to an “MVP Homecoming Football Experience” by football coach Joe Clayton and his wife, Holly, who organizes the dinner and auction each year.

Trudeau and Marshall are an extreme version of what dozens of other people did Saturday night: show their support for the football program by donating and paying huge amounts for specialty cakes, pies, cookies and other dessert items. Combined with the $5 ticket price for the spaghetti dinner and donations made during the evening, a total of $10,004.50 was raised. More than 60 percent of that came from the auction.

“It amazes me every year,” a visibly relieved Holly Clayton said afterward. “I’m like, oh my gosh I hope everybody comes, I hope they want to be here and be part of it with us. Then I see the cafeteria fill up, and my heart just feels good.”

“It’s beautiful to see,” Joe Clayton added. “It was a packed house. To see the community come together and bid on cakes for hundreds of dollars is just amazing to me. The community has been supportive since day one. They know the money’s going right back to the kids.”

Back on day one, nobody connected with the event envisioned it growing to the size it has become year after year.

“My goal the first year was if we could just make $2,000, I’d be over the moon,” Holly Clayton said. The first year, with far fewer cakes and much less public attention, brought in $4,500. The Claytons were overwhelmed, and they haven’t looked back.

But just because they are used to seeing the dozens of desserts, the hundreds of people and the thousands of dollars every year doesn’t mean they take it for granted. Both Claytons use the word “amazed” routinely to describe the feeling the community’s support gives them, and players such as seniors Caleb Sproul and Donnie Miller are well aware of what it all means.

“This is huge,” Sproul said. “Last year during our last game, before I started to play, I thought about how we’ve got to do this for our town, we’ve got to do this for our families, we’ve got to do this for Pahrump.”

“It’s nice to see this many people coming together and helping out us as a team,” Miller added. “We feel way more motivated having everybody here every year.”

“That’s good to hear them say that,” Joe Clayton said when told of his seniors’ comments. “They know it comes back to them one way or another, especially those guys being here for four years. That’s pretty cool.”

For more on the 7th Annual Spaghetti Dinner &Dessert Auction, see Trojans Football Notebook at pvtimes.com

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