Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2013, 11:14 pm

Arrowhead auctions off cars for a good cause

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By Laura Anderson Shaw

COAL VALLEY — Dan Dillon planned to just watch Arrowhead Ranch's annual winter vehicle auction Saturday, but left with a 1989 Porsche.

As the echo of numbers and the smell of exhaust filled the William E. Nelson Auto Shop at Arrowhead, the Colona man said he simply "got caught up in things."

He first saw the Porsche last week when he volunteered through John Deere to wash the cars. He said he thought the Porsche would sell for much more than it did, so he started bidding.

He was "doing good at 26 ($2,600)," he said, "and then some guy snaked me so I had to keep going."

He ended up with the top bid of $3,200.

While it ended up being an expensive Saturday, he said, he couldn't complain. "It's for a good cause."

More than 100 people gathered in the garage for the auction, many keeping track of what car was up for bid by making notes on their lists as the cars passed through.

Some sat on lawn and folding chairs in a taped-off area while others remained mobile, scoping out the cars and asking questions as they drove through the garage.

A few bid assistants made their way up and down the crowd, pointing with rolled up paper and shouting "yeah!" to indicate who was bidding.

Arrowhead development director Brandon Terronez said he was pleased with the turnout.

Later in the day, Mr. Terronez said in an email the event raised roughly $35,000.

Mr. Terronez said Arrowhead holds two vehicle auctions a year, auctioning cars, trucks, vans, boats, campers and more that have been donated by the community.

Saturday, roughly 30 cars, trucks and vans, and two golf carts were up for auction.

The money raised at the event will be "funneled back into programs for youth at risk, either residential programs or community outreach, " Mr. Terronez said.

As Arrowhead receives donations, work done on the vehicles before the auction is "all done right here," Mr. Terronez said.

Not only is working on cars a "life skill" for the youth at Arrowhead to learn, but it can "prepare them for the future outside of Arrowhead," he said.

Long-time Arrowhead car auction attendee Ernest Bates, of Moline, said he comes to the auction "every time they have it," and Saturday, he was seeing some "pretty decent cars."

Over the years, he said he has bought six cars from Arrowhead auctions, and they're "all good."

In fact, two of his daughters still are driving them, he said."I've never had any problem."

Saturday, Mr. Bates said he and his family were looking for a car or a van at a good price, and"this is where to come."

Mr. Bates bought a Buick for $600. "It's not a bad car," he said."If it's as good as the rest (of the cars I've bought), I'll be all right."

For those who have never experienced an auction (and even some who have), they can be "kind of nerve-wracking," Mr. Bates said, adding that the more you attend, the more you get the hang of it.

Mr. Dillon's nerves were definitely tested while he was bidding on the Porsche. He said he was "kind of nervous" while the bids were being tossed back and forth.

"After I bought it, I was shaking," he said.Nearly an hour later, he said he was still kind of jittery.

In the future, he'll be back to the auction, but "I'll be more reserved," he said with a chuckle, adding he'll bring some buddies with him next time to keep his spending in check.

"Maybe my mom."
For more information about future auctions, visit or call (309) 799-7044.