Show promoters insert special cause in auction to benefit Pro Exotics
Attendees at the October 8-9 North American Reptile Breeders Conference in Tinley Park, IL, helped to raise $48,346.85 for USARK and Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council at that show's Saturday night auction and benefit, as well as $19,510 as a special cause in the auction for Pro Exotics, the reptile breeding facility that was destroyed by fire, according to USARK president Andrew Wyatt and NARBC show promoter Bob Ashley. "It was the biggest fundraiser overall," said Wyatt, who noted that while this show's auction raised more money in total, the Daytona show raised more than $40,000 specifically for USARK.
While the main part of the auction was to benefit USARK and PIJAC, show promoter Brian Potter inserted Pro Exotics as a special cause into the auction in an effort to help with the rebuilding of the company, said Robyn Markland, co-owner of Pro Exotics. "It was an amazing and emotional night," said Markland. "Very powerful stuff." Some of the items that were auctioned to benefit Pro Exotics included a Dwayne t-shirt, auctioned for $4,000, a Pro Exotics action figure made by Russ Gurley (to read about the reptile-industry figurines Russ Gurley makes, go here) auctioned for $3,000, a Rodent Pro Gift certificate auctioned for $5,000, and a globe that survived the Pro Exotics fire that was auctioned for $3,600.
The show was well attended as evidenced by the donations to USARK/PIJAC as well as the fire relief fund to get Pro Exotics in operation again. "We had the best door ever for Tinley Park," said NARBC show organizer Bob Ashley. "It was the best door any show in the US has had in 10 years."