With Cottage Grove dark blue and gold decorations hanging around the armory, the Friends of Cottage Grove Athletics hosted their annual auction on Saturday night.
The funds from the event go to the different teams at Cottage Grove High School. Last year the event raised $25,000 and with that money, the group was able to buy new tarps for the baseball and softball fields and give each team equal amounts of the remaining funds.
“Everybody that thought this was just like a football event or basketball event, that is absolutely not the case,” said Brogan Weybright who is president of the booster club. “This is for the high school athletic program. For next year, we don’t know yet what we’re going to do with the funds but it will be easy to spend. We’re going to divvy it up like we did and then whatever the capital improvement project that we need to support, we’ll support.”
As each team fundraises to raise money for specific team needs, Weybright is hoping that the funds from this event can help make it easier for each of the teams.
“There’s no money for them so they’re out having to hustle to play ball. That’s unfortunate. When I was a kid that wasn’t the case,” he said.
Cottage Grove High School Athletic Director Gary Roberts, who serves as the secretary of the dinner auction committee, also sees a need that the auction can address.
“Our school district does the best job that they can with funding us but when it comes to some of the larger items that sports programs need… just aren’t covered in our athletic budget. I mean our teams fundraise for everything,” he said.
While the group is unsure of what their big-ticket item will be this year, there is no shortage of options. Roberts noted that there have been discussions around wrestling mats and volleyball nets which have both been around since the high school was remodeled. The group is also thinking of a scoreboard for when the pool is remodeled.
It was the second year in a row of the auction event and the first year since the booster club is now separate from working with South Lane School District (SLSD). SLSD cut ties because of the auctioning of firearms at the event.
“It was because we did have a firearm raffle for the glock, for pistols and we did have a hunting rifle involved in the auction. So, that’s a part of it. But the other part of it is it’s an adult function serving adult beverages. So, it’s not just the firearms, it’s also the adult beverage aspect to it which makes it better for all of us if it’s a booster club event and not a school district sponsored event,” Roberts. “It’s very good to have a separation.”
“And the firearm thing, some people have an issue with it. It’s part of Oregon, it’s what we do. People hunt, people fish. This is our community, it’s not about school shootings and I want people to know that,” said Weybright. “We don’t want to sweep it under the rug. I want it to be known that we support the outdoors.”
As of this print, the final tally for funds had not yet been calculated. The group was hoping to raise $30,000 at this year’s event.
“Year two went better than year one and year three is going to go better than year two,” said Roberts.