Portage Lions host 43rd annual Radio Auction to support programs

April 2, 2019

It’s not eBay, and that’s just the way the Portage Lions Club likes it.

At Saturday’s 43rd annual Radio Auction, no one could click on a computer screen to check out the items up for bids. But they could see the merchandise in the St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic School cafeteria, and ask a Lion to bring an item forward for a closer look.

No one could bid online, but they could bid in person or listen to WPDR-AM radio and phone in a bid — which would be recorded on a paper ticket, and personally posted on the big tote board by Lions, who kept track of the 625 items’ status by item numbers.

Emil Mravik, a 51-year charter member of the Portage Lions Club, didn’t just post other people’s bids.

He was also bidding on a few items on behalf of friends, who’d given him their maximum bid.

“They tell me the most they want to bid, and when we get to that point, I quit,” Mravik said.

On Saturday afternoon, there were, at most, about 50 prospective bidders on hand in the cafeteria — to pore over the catalog of available items, and to fill out bid tickets.

“OK, eagle-eye,” Pat Halasz said to Mark Engebretson, who had one eye on the available merchandise and the other eye on the tote board. “What’s the bid on No. 11? How about 66?”

Item No. 11 was a subscription to the Portage Daily Register, for up to 52 weeks. No. 66 was a $100 gift certificate for services offered by Zimmerman Plumbing.

The items offered in the auction ran the gamut, in terms of face value. There were plenty of $5 and $10 gift certificates from local eateries, and there was at least one handmade quilt ($500), a one-night stay at a Wisconsin Dells resort condominium ($450) original artwork and sports memorabilia — including a 100th-anniversary gold collector series football, signed by the 2018 Green Bay Packers and their coaches (valued at $400).

“The generosity of people has always been very good,” Mravik said.

The goal of the radio auction is to raise at least $10,000 for Lions programs, such as eye exams and glasses, scholarships and the upcoming Easter egg hunt on April 20.