Bidders purchased 12 pumpkin lots for a total donation of $4,540 to the Kewanee Area United Way, surpassing the 2011 event that raised more than $3,600.
Black Hawk College students, employees, alumni and friends came together Oct. 29 at the college’s East Campus to purchase perhaps not only the most expensive pumpkins, but best evaluated pumpkins, in the nation. Local bidders and others from around the Midwest competed for monster and monstrous pumpkins at the event organized by the Agribusiness Club.
Pumpkins first were evaluated and pedigrees/assets “talked” by members of the Livestock Judging Team prior to being auctioned off by long-time event auctioneer and alum Bill LeSage. Other team members assisted as bid spotters.
This year’s pumpkins ranged from the perfectly round traditional jack-o-lantern size to one that required two people to lift it. Other unique pumpkins included a ceramic pumpkin from Bishop Hill; a painted pumpkin by John Hartman, Black Hawk College associate professor of art; an eight-pound pumpkin-tater hybrid; and a “book-pumpkin” from the BHC bookstore.
Bidders spent on average more than $300 per pumpkin with the top bid of $1,355 going to the Jarvis Simmons syndicate which included the BHE Livestock Judging Team & Family, AgriGold Genetics and Ashley Middleswarth.
The winning bidders were:
- BHC Auto/Ag Mechanics Club
- Friends at the Community Education Center
- Black Hawk College East Foundation Board of Directors
- Deb Rhoades
- Carter and Nolan Hoge
- Lee and Joshua Denzer
- Science Club / Phi Theta Kappa / Liberal Arts and Science Department
- Western Illinois University BHE Alumni Mark Hoge
- The Gary & Jodee Werkheiser Family
- Iowa State University BHE Alumni
Members of the college’s Livestock Judging Team who “talked up” the pumpkins were Will Coor of Salem, N.C.; Andrew Huffman of Bluffton, Ind.; Isaak Mersch of Twelve Mile, Ind.; Max Look of Peoria, Ill.; Amber Shipe of Waterloo, Ind.; Logan Rinehold of Waterloo, Ind.; Sarah DeSchepper of Altona, Ill.; Austin Weber of Avilla, Ind.; and Nick Fitzsimmons of Vail, Ind. Bid spotters were Nick Fitzsimmons, Will Coor and Jack Bloomberg of Berwick Ill.
The pumpkins were donated by Theresa’s Tasty Produce of Atkinson, Nature’s Garden of Galva and Black Hawk College faculty and staff.