Record-setting Bachelor Auction one for the books

by Melis Coady

For 364 days they cost nothing, you can find them in the woods or saddle up to them at the local bar, but for one special night a year Talkeetna’s bachelors fetch a hefty price. And this year’s 32nd annual Talkeetna Bachelor Auction was the most successful ever. KTNA’s Melis Coady has more.

listen to full story:03Bachelors

The average price for a bachelor this year was $335. Many of the bachelors, like Dave Kuecha, were surprised by their value on the auction block.

Clip “She paid $700 for me- could have had me for free…”

Allison Queair, a woman from Anchorage in the army reserve and a logisitics coordinator for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, was pleased with her purchase. All proceeds from the event are donated to Talkeetna’s non-profits with the biggest donations going to groups helping women and children in crisis. However, perhaps more importantly for Allison, she genuinely likes Dave. They had a great time together and hope to keep in touch.

Traditionally the event has been very tongue and cheek. It was invented as a stunt 32 years ago to draw bigger winter crowds to the town’s historic bar the Fairview Inn. However, increasingly real matches are being made. Bachelors who are overlooked by their jaded female neighbors or forced to compete for a small pool of local women are given a bigger audience the first Saturday of every December. Once purchased by a woman, the winning bidder is promised a flower, photo with their bachelor, a drink and a dance. The rest is up to the couple.

Several marriages have their origins in this event. During the Wilderness Woman Contest, an event held the afternoon of the same day, Eric Denklewater, a spectator, proudly held his granddaughter Rosemary. Her parents, Margaret and Kelley, met during this same event three years ago.

Clip “Eric and his daughter Margaret bicker about when Rosemary was conceived.”

The bachelor auction is a great place for women to find a man, but it is also a great place for women to hang out with other women. There was a lot of camaraderie in the Sheldon Community Arts hangar as over 200 women gathered to bid on 41 bachelors. The hall was so packed that hopeful women were even being turned away at the door.

The venue took on a Vegas meets Talkeetna feel as groups of women plotted and strategized, setting bidding limits, trading auction cards to procure their lucky number, and offering to pool money together so their friends could purchase their favorite picks. Well-dressed and often scantily dressed men energized the event as they strutted down a catwalk.

Clip “Music ‘Sexy and I know it’, cheering and bidding”

Although it takes a lot of courage for these often shy and reticent men to put themselves out on display some said the jitters actually set in later.

Clip “More nervous after than on stage…women in packs are like a wild group of animals.”

For all the fun the focus was still on charity. Talkeetna Bachelors raised over $14,000 for local charities. Most of the bachelors worked hard to procure donations from businesses and sold with additional generous prizes like scenic flights, gift certificates, and handmade items. Lindasy Hall, the biggest philanthropist of the night purchased five bachelors, including Tommy Potter, the most expensive man of the evening, for $900.

Tommy came with his own well-crafted fur hat made from the first coyote he ever shot, and adorned with bear claws from a bear he took with a bow and arrow.

From Talkeetna where the odds are good but the goods are getting more expensive, this is Melis Coady

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