I sell my share of New York weekend trips consisting of a show, dinner, and hotel. Who doesn’t enjoy a glamorous weekend?
But what about those off-the-wall benefit auction items that might be better suited for the stomping grounds of my youth?
I think back to the Kansas State Fair, where this next item would have been easier to procure and would have made a big splash with auction guests.
The chance to compete in a demolition derby.
Last month I read an article in the Orange County Register (“Demolition Derby Puts Dent in Dad’s Wallet”) about a teenager who got to have some fun wrecking a car after his Dad bought the item in a benefit auction.
Dad beat out 15 bidders and paid $3000 to buy one of the cars — donated by Ben’s Asphalt Inc. — to compete in the “Orange Crush” demolition derby at the OC Fair. Ben’s Asphalt put about 40 hours worth of elbow grease into three vehicles, prepping each for its debut and demise.
(Even cars destined for the dump must be glammed up. I guess it’s a bit like celebrities who put on makeup before heading to jail.)
Derby cars must be “derby-ready,” which means all glass and internal fixtures (trim, lights) must be removed, doors welded shut, gas tanks are often re-positioned into safer areas in the vehicles, and bright paint work to easily identify each car.
In addition to the station wagon — which was driven by the teenager in the afternoon race — Ben’s Asphalt prepared and donated a1983 Oldsmobile and a 1983 Buick station wagon on behalf of two other charities. Those cars were being sold for the more popular night race.
This idea grabbed my attention, so I did some research.
Demolition derbies generally take about 20 minutes. Cars are not supposed to go over 20 mph.
In fact, Wikipedia gave all kinds of interesting data, such as mentioning that water is often sprayed on the field to create a muddy mess capable of reducing the cars to slower speeds.
I don’t know anything about organizing demolition derbies for profit or for charity, but I did think this item sounds like fun.
And if the fairgrounds in your area are organizing a demolition derby, maybe there’s a way to get your charitable cause as a beneficiary via one of the cars?
(Do a search on Google with “demolition derby” and the name of your local county or city. I was surprised at how many are taking place.)
According to some sources, buying the cars is usually about $500. Then there’s the need to find a mechanic or car enthusiast who can donate his time and materials to get the vehicles derby-ready. THEN you’ve got a sale-able vehicle.
Another bonus … I rarely see auto mechanics listed as auction sponsors at the gala auctions we work.
This type of item is a great way to reach out to a new set of potential donors and get them involved in helping you make money. Maybe they aren’t buying a sponsorship directly, but their talent can be used to create a bid-worthy item for your benefit auction.