I covered the Avon Fat Steer Show Cake Auction last Thursday for Kid 1 as she and Mark had to travel to Zion for Mark’s chemotherapy.

I covered the Avon Fat Steer Show Cake Auction last Thursday for Kid 1 as she and Mark had to travel to Zion for Mark’s chemotherapy.

The Cake Auction is a highly anticipated event not only because the cakes are delicious and gorgeous, but also because of the amount of money it raises. Money raised goes to a variety of places including back into the Fat Steer Show coffers for the following year, JFL, Christmas decorations, Memorial Day Parade and flags, Avondale 4-H, Summer Ball, Fireworks, etc.

This year $25,905 was raised through the auction of 73 cakes.

I initially posted a pic with a mom and a little girl showing the youngster’s cake. I mentioned the amount they raised and said to look for results in the paper.

After I posted the pic, I immediately received a private message from the little girl’s mom telling how I had made Stella Jo’s day! Her older sister entered a cake that earned a ribbon and Stella Jo didn’t understand why hers did not, but seeing her photo on the internet made her very happy.

That truly made me feel good. So much of what we report often has a layer of negativity cloaked somewhere in the verbiage.

How could anyone possibly be negative when it comes to the Avon Fat Steer Show? This was it’s 69th anniversary after all.

I should remind my self on a daily basis, do not ever pose that question outside or in my head. Shortly after enjoying the positive Avon Fat Steer Show Coverage I received a notification on our FB page.

Still, undaunted, I figured it was someone congratulating them for obtaining such a large amount of money.

When will I learn?

My guess?


Someone felt the need to say, “Who would buy a cake for $300? Nice to see people throw their money away for such silly stuff…and what does it fund the event not anything important like a charity? Someone’s pocketing the money and making a killing….”

Generally I ignore the sometimes outrageous things people post, but this one needed addressed. Being an Avon girl, I know everyone associated with the Fat Steer Show. When someone insinuates someone may be embezzling money from an organization, those are serious charges! You can’t just toss those things  out and expect people to be okay with it.
Several people commented in support.

Karen McNeely Yocks said, “It’s ALWAYS a hit. And, people wouldn’t spend the money if they didn’t want to.”

The original poster added,”Sucker born every day….a fool and their money parts ways!”

John Park added, “My dear, you are absolutely clueless. Kudos to those individuals who support such a fun event. It’s call community involvement and pride.”

And, the original poster said, “Take pride in what? I know the folks in the land of hee haw are easily amused but to pay hundreds of dollars on a cake is a tad silly. We have homeless  and people in poverty in the world but the local yokels are worried about this and you call me clueless. Yeah alright…rofl.”

Avon for sure is a rural community, but I can assure you we are not local yokels and we do not live in the land of Hee-Haw.

I know better than to engage a FB troll, but sometimes, even if they continue to troll, they need to know you can’t just post whatever the heck comes to mind.

Why is the Cake Show Auction so popular?

There are multiple business people who attend each and every year. I do believe (and I’m sure they would confirm, off the record, of course), they often get in a bidding war and they enjoy it.

Bill Maloney, owner of Neff Co. (John Deere Implement Company/repair department/ and offering other hard-to-find purchases in the store) along with his wife Lois, (shameless plug…she was my junior high math and English teacher), are there every year with generous, giving hearts. He doesn’t do it for the recognition nor does she. He does it because he can give back. He loves our community of Avon and supports it whenever given the opportunity.

Same thing with the Steer Show Auction held Saturday day. He generally purchases a few steers or more and pays above market value. Again, he does it for the kids showing because he can.

When I first started out doing Abingdon and Avon as two different weeklies, I wanted to run letters from grade school kids saying what they are thankful for. They were so great! My publisher at the time, Tom Hutson, said we wouldn’t be able to print them all because we didn’t have enough advertising. I asked if I could get three people to sponsor three full pages would they all be able to run?

I couldn’t stand the thought of one running and another one’s not getting printed.

Tom said I could.

My first stop was Neff Co., to talk to Bill. I explained the project and after hearing it was to make sure all the kids’ letters were printed he said, “I’ll take all three.”

I was shocked, “Are you sure?”

“Don’t ruin your opportunity! Absolutely! Write it down, now you’re done!”

People either like Bill an immense amount or dislike an immense amount. There is not much in between.

Personally, I love him.

During Nick’s last Fat Steer Show, Nick kept putting his hand up during the auction. I told him to quit or we’d be buying a steer.

Bill was behind us and tapped Nick on the shoulder saying, “Do you want to come up here and help me bid?”

Nick looked at me and I gave the ok.

Bill did not have to do that, but he did and to this day it is one of my fondest memories of Nick.

By no means is Avon a wealthy community, but we take care of our own. There are several other entities who pay big bucks for cakes. Steve Franklin, Steve’s Appliances, Tompkins State Bank and Abingdon Banking Center, MGS (Modern Grain Systems-Will Zimmerman), Roseville Floral & More (new to the Avon Cake Auction), Shawn Powell Stranger and son, Dallas, Eathington Angus, ATAK Cattle (Tammy and Andy Schmalshof) and the list goes on and on.

Force is not used on  ANYONE to participate either by baking a cake or by buying.

The person posting was entitled to their opinion, however it is not acceptable to throw out a suggestion that someone probably was pocketing the money.

All those who purchased cakes for however much are the ones that help keep the tradition of the Avon Fat Steer Show alive as are the bakers who gave them 73 awesome looking cakes.

To raise $25,905 in about a two hour time frame is pretty cool and illustrates how much the Avon community and other surrounding communities support one another.

Granted, there are a lot of people who are homeless or living in poverty, but the goal of the Cake Auction is to raise as much money as they are able to support their various causes throughout the year. In no way are they belittling the severity of being homeless or living in poverty.

When someone has a benefit to help with medical costs or other costs associated with a terminal or lengthy illness, people wouldn’t expect them to donate the proceeds to a charity that helps homeless people or those in poverty.

Likewise with the Cake Auction.

During a Relay For Life fundraiser several years ago Bill paid, I believe, $1,000 to the Relay Team, Angels in Action, for Kevin Ferry to sing How Great Thou Art as it is one of his favorites. Of course Ferry did it!

Not once did anyone think it was silly for Bill to pay such a sum to have someone sing his favorite song and the monies were going to support a Relay For Life team!

Bill is a self-made man. When he started at Neff Co. he was very green. When Mr Neff passed away, Bill bought the company and chose not to change the name. With hard work and determination the business became a huge success.

Bill cares about his customers, his employees and the residents of Avon.

If he has the money to spend large sums, as he sometimes does, that’s nobodies’ business but his.

He often purchases the steers of kids whose parent works for him.

That happens with the Cake Auction, occasionally, too.

As I’ve mentioned previously, absolutely NO ONE is forced to attend, NO ONE is forced to buy a cake, or pay large sums of money for said cake.

They want to do it. I can safely say if you’re in a bidding war with Bill, you may as well drop out. He doesn’t like to lose and will keep bidding until he gets what he wants.

For those of you who have never been to the Fat Steer Show Cake Auction you should check it out next year.

And, you know, generous people are sometimes generous just because.

There is no conspiracy, they don’t want recognized, they’re not trying to get a work deal done. They are JUST being generous!

I was livid when I first read the post referring to us as local yokels out in Hee Haw land. But then, I realized, I know differently. We are comfortable in our skin and we know the truth. Several of us attempted to explain the ins-and-outs regarding how the Cake Auction runs, but every logical post we had got the laughing emoji. So, I guess it is their loss.

Yes, even local yokels out in Hee Haw land can be generous and good people!