I came back.
Last Saturday night, I did my first live, in-person auction in almost two years.
It kind of came out of nowhere. I remember talking with master Bothell Booster fundraiser Kim Monson earlier this year about the Bothell High School Boosters possibly having an auction, but it wasn’t until a week and a half ago that they asked, “Did you get our email?” I hadn’t, but Auctioneer Extraordinaire Ken Carson reached out to me to see if I had heard about it and the show was on!
And so, on Saturday night, August 21st, Ken, yours truly and the family and friends of Bothell High School football players gathered at the magical place known as Nardoland.
You could have lived here your entire life and never known that Nardoland exisits. For anyone who attended or had kids at Bothell High School, this is Mecca. I actually wrote a blog about this place several years ago and to this day, I still get random emails from people all over the country who stumbled across the story and want to know how they can get in to see it for themselves.
After the auction last weekend, I actually had a great chance to just sit down and chat with the owner, Ron Nardone. He played football for Bothell back in the early 1960s and remained so proud of his alma mater, he turned his spacious property into a Smithsonian-like salute to his Bothell High School Cougars.
Ron said he only allows events at his place three times a year. For his Bothell High School class reunions, for his wife’s Ballard High School reunions and for the annual Bothell Boosters event.
Let me just take you on a tour of the memorabilia on display at Nardoland.
This is Ron, riding around his compound in a golf cart given to him by a friend down in Palm Springs.
Ken & I had to get in a quick picture with Coach Tom Bainter. He’s entering his 22nd year as head coach of the Cougars.
And, of course, former Bothell City Councilman (and Cougar assistant coach) Del Spivey was there. I think he’s stalking me.
One of the cool auction stories from the evening: Every year, they offer a package called, “Hekker in Hollywood.” Former Bothell High football player Johnny Hekker went on to QB at Oregon State and then, became a punter in the N.F.L.. The package included two seats of the game of your choice to watch him punt footballs for the Los Angeles Rams down in L.A., two passes to Universal Studios and $500 cash. Ken was wrapping up this item with the traditional “Going once, going twice….SOLD!” when a woman claimed she wanted to bump the bidding higher. At that moment, quick-thinking Coach Tom Bainter called up Johnny and asked if he could double-it and he did.
I also hear that, in the off-season, Hekker is known to return to his Edmonds home and come over and work with the kickers at Bothell High during spring practices. What a guy!
This year, circumstances forced them to make this an outdoor event. In years’ past, we were all jammed inside the giant garage. But this year, they went with a large tent in the fresh open air and I’ll bet this is how they’re going to be doing this for years to come. By the way, here’s the picture that resulted when I asked folks to hold up their bid cards.
I actually originally asked them to hold up their vaccination cards, but they didn’t think that was funny.
My favorite line of the night: “Tonight, I’d like to ask you for your prayers. Oh, I’m healthy, doing fine. I just want to win the lottery and quit my job!”
However, that’s definitely not true. I can’t wait for my next visit to Nardoland. I just might have to blog about it again.
PS KOMO TV’s Eric Johnson did a great piece on Ron Nardone and Nardoland. Watch it here.