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We were among more than 700 on the floor of the Casper Events Center on Saturday night, and we were delighted to be there.

At $125 per person, it’s not in our budget. So when we were asked to be guests, we gratefully accepted.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming is celebrating 50 years, beginning in 1969 as the Boys Club of Casper.

Fifty years later, there are 10 locations in three counties (Natrona, Johnson and Converse), and the club staff has gone from providing necessary but basic homework help and a safe place to be after school to numerous offerings, including mentorship, financial literacy, ethics outreach and technology that mirrors what Natrona County School District teaches.

The occasion was the annual Reverse Raffle & Auction, which raises big bucks annually for the BGCCW’s work.

The silent auction has evolved into a mega shopping spree, featuring a who’s who from Casper — current and former members of Congress, and leaders in business and industry — bumping into each other trying to gaze at baskets of wine, original art and sports memorabilia.

One item of interest this year was a large, swanky black dog kennel, decked out with the latest feeding system. But the kennel was suspiciously empty.

That’s because Daisy, an adorable tiny ball of black and white cow dog fluff, was socializing with the guests — all night long. Her puppy kisses were in demand at every table, and even a tiny potty break on the cement Events Center floor didn’t hinder the adoration.

Daisy, her kennel, veterinary, training and grooming services, was sold for just over $2,000.

These are not your PTO bake sale prices.

Guests on the floor walked past a gleaming, lipstick red 2008 Shelby GT500 Mustang with 391 original miles on its odometer.

The fact that it has a manual transmission that I do not know how to drive did not deter me from drooling.

The car, provided by Yellowstone Garage Bar, Grill & Venue and Old Town Pump, was the headline item for the evening. Tickets for chances to win the car were awarded in $250 increments with a donation to the impact item of the night, “I.T.” Matters.

The goal is to refurbish the existing Susie McMurry Technology Center with a price tag of $890,000. The new space will be suited to robotics and other interactive uses rather than rows of outdated computer monitors.

By the end of the night on Saturday, 836 “chances” for the car had been sold for $209,000. Two hundred of those chances went to Susie McMurry, as she made the initial pledge of $50,000.

The car was won by the Martin Family Foundation, whose founder John Martin, an Air Force veteran and oil and gas developer, has quietly done incredible things for Casper youth in the last couple of decades.

During the live auction, bidders spent the most money on two private Casper dinner experiences — $15,000 for a dinner for 12 with former vice president Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, and $10,000 for a dinner for 12 with Mark and Jennie Gordon, the governor and first lady.

A preliminary total raised for the evening was estimated at $586,000, from silent and live auctions, the impact auction, sponsorships and ticket sales.

Casper is a generous community. There are many opportunities throughout the year to support a variety of worthy, nonprofit causes. Find one that fits your budget and your philosophy, and then participate.

You won’t be sorry.

Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Follow community news editor Sally Ann Shurmur on Twitter @WYOSAS

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Community News Editor

Sally Ann Shurmur arrived at the Star-Tribune to cover sports two weeks after graduating from the University of Wyoming and now serves as community news editor. She was raised in Laramie and is a passionate fan of Cowboys football, food and family.

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