(Seguin) -- Here's a little test. Name one of the most successful one day fundraisers in Guadalupe County? If you're first response wasn't the Wade Busby Memorial, well, we're here to educate you a little today.
The Wade Busby Memorial Fundraiser celebrated its 10th anniversary. It also celebrated a record breaking night last Saturday at the K.C. Hall in Seguin. Not only did the event this past weekend generate $203,000 – organizers generally sell 750 to 800 tickets for the event, and it sells out in just a couple of weeks.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go to help support youth livestock shows and college scholarships for high school seniors.
Mark Cerda is one of the founders for the event. He says he's still in shock over the group's ability to meet and exceed its goal of $200,000. Cerda says the fundraiser, established in the fall of 2005, is done in memory of his best friend, and has managed to grow every year.
"Year one, we were wet behind the ears, didn't really know what we were going to do and really not having any clue as to what it would generate -- just kind of throwing the thing together because Wade died in March and we put our first event on that October -- just kind of scrambled around. I think our attendance at that time was probably maybe 180 to 200 people and we raised $11,000 to come back that next January to spend at the Guadalupe County Youth Show and man, we thought we did phenomenal. Since the first one, it has just grown every year. We've increased it $20,000 a wack and this year was just absolutely absurd. It was phenomenal, is all I can say," said Cerda.
Cerda says he believes the success of the event lies in its overall mission -- and that is to support area youth. He says Busby's interest in agriculture led him to Tarleton State University where he graduated with a degree in agriculture services and development. He says Busby "believed there are valuable life-long lessons learned and many cherished family memories made from exhibiting livestock."
"The whole purpose of this event was to keep Wade's memory alive. Wade was a big advocate for youth involved in agriculture. Even before he owned his business in New Berlin, The New Berlin Feed and Tack. He and I and Kyle Kelso would go down there and we just kind of pulled money together and we'd buy some projects on our own. When Wade died, we were just kind of dumb founded as far as -- in shock that -- at 30 years old, our best friend is gone. It's been a very emotional roller coaster ride over the 10 year period. Every year doing this event, it does pull on your heart strings to know that all of these people come together one night to help us keep Wade's memory alive. We go down to the stock shows. we buy Guadalupe County, Comal County, La Vernia, Wilson County, Bexar County and the San Antonio Stock Show and every time that we go there, Wade is fresh on our minds. We're doing this for him, for no other reason, we're doing this for him to help keep his memory alive and to support what he held so dear to his heart, was to help the kids involved in agriculture," said Cerda.
Cerda says each year, there is a high level of energy and support from those in attendance. He says that energy, this year, was clearly evident in helping to push the group over it's desired goal.
"When they brought the number up that night, I think it was $198,500 and I told them -- I said 'our goal tonight was $200,000' and I told them it was $198,500, before I could say anything else, hands start flying up in the audience. 'I want to donate $500, I want to donate a $1,000, I want to donate $500, I want to donate another $1,000 ' -- people just jumped in. They wanted to make sure that we made that goal," said Cerda.
Cerda say thanks to a committee of volunteers, the annual event features casino games, live and silent auctions and raffle. He says plans for an even more successful fundraiser in 2015 have already begun.