By Marlys Good
While all the figures for HATS IX Saturday night are not in, unofficially the event raised “north of” $50,000, and was deemed “very successful” by organizers.
HATS IX spokesman Scott Good said, “We were really, really impressed and pleased with the turnout, the generosity of both the people who donated to the silent/live auctions, those who purchased items, and those who donated items, and those who couldn’t attend but authorized us to bid on items for them, and then turned them back for re-bid.”
Attendees started entering the Herb Asp Community Center as soon as the doors opened at 3:30; they walked into a room beautifully decorated in red, white and blue, browsed the perimeter of the hall, looked over the items, made their silent auction bids, stood around and visited with friends or chatted at the tables.
Beverly Brimley, who with husband Wilford founded HATS in 2008, made the opening remarks; State Rep. Jamie Flitner invited the guests to join her as she sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”
County Hall of Famer Lacy J. Dalton, the headliner, held the audience spellbound when she took the stage following the live auction. From music going back to the 1940s like “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Jambalaya,” to “16th Avenue” and “Black Coffee,” with stops in between, she and fellow guitarist Dale Poune didn’t miss a beat.
Organizers said it was gratifying to have several new donors step up. One from the north end of the county said until this summer, he and his wife had never heard of HATS. “We had been looking for a charity, and we found one. We’ll be back,” they said.
Good said it was not unusual to hear that some people have never heard of Hands Across the Saddle. “There is no publicity. The people we help remain anonymous; they don’t talk about it and neither do we. That’s the way it should be.”
Since its inception in 2008, HATS has disbursed over $600,000 to people across the Big Horn Basin who need a helping hand due to unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. As Beverly Brimley said, “People in need of a hand up; not a hand out.”
Next year HATS will hold its 10th “birthday bash.”