A number of organizations like to incorporate some type of entertainment into their benefit auction. Often this entertainment takes place during the silent auction, and it is usually reflective of the theme of the event. These groups like to have an activity, but are careful to ensure that the activity doesn’t detract from the primary goal of fundraising.
One unique activity I saw at a western-themed fundraising auction was a mechanical bull. The bull ride added a lively ambiance to the night!
The activity had been promoted prior to the auction so guests knew that the bull ride would be available onsite. Even so, guests were wary! Initially, many guests just eyed the bull and watched others give it a shot. When guests realized that no one was getting hurt, they became more interested in riding the bull and approached the ring to give it a try.
The bull was positioned in the middle of an inflatable ring. The bullriding ring was inflatable, constructed of a similar material often used for a child’s inflatable swimming pool. When the guest was thrown off the bull (some guests hit the ground sooner than others), he or she had a “safe” landing on the inflatable plastic.
(To be honest, most guests slid off the bull. I didn’t see anyone “thrown.”)
Because this auction featured a western theme, guests were encouraged to dress the part. Most guests wore jeans or casual pants, and a few women wore long skirts. This type of dress code was conducive to the activity of bull-riding. Men favored the activity over women, although I did see at least one woman try her skill.
The fundraiser was held in the school’s gymnasium. The bull was set-up on a center-side, near the bleachers.
Although guests did momentarily stop shopping in the silent auction to watch the riders, the bull wasn’t a noticeable distraction to the silent auction itself. Most people would watch one or two guests ride before drifting back to the silent auction.
During the live auction, we asked guests to sit in the bleachers. The inflatable ring was deflated so guests could walk over the now-collapsed bull ring to seat themselves on the bleachers.
If you are conducting a cowboy or western-themed event and will be encouraging guests to wear casual clothing, consider talking to an entertainment company about renting a mechanical bull. It was a popular choice with the crowd.
Copyright (c) 2009 Red Apple Auctions LLC