February 13, 1998

Auction adds to benefit’s grand total

Auction adds to benefit's grand total

MT. CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. ‹ Keep your ears glued to the radio for a new country hit called "You Gotta Fall Sometimes."

When you hear it, you'll know that Peggy Wood's Country in the Rockies gamble paid off.

Wood, a member of the Vanderbilt Cancer Center Board of Overseers, was the top bidder ‹ at $2,750 ‹ for the sheet music and several early drafts scribbled on a Crested Butte Marriott napkin. Artist Skip Ewing penned the song at the hotel piano specifically for the live auction finale of the event, which benefits the music industry charity, the T.J. Martell Foundation.

"We think this just might be a hit for somebody," Ewing said before performing the song at the auction.

The song is about the need to take some falls as you reach for your dreams. (Can't imagine where Ewing got his inspiration for a song about falling during a skiing weekend…)

The live auction raised more than $75,000 for the Martell Foundation and its Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt Cancer Center (VCC). A silent auction was also held throughout Country in the Rockies, also to raise money for the cause.

Among the other live auction items: a pair of yellow platform shoes worn by Elton John during a performance of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; a vivid green dress ‹ one of the last designed by the late Giovanni Versace ‹ donated by rocker Sheryl Crow; a signed and numbered lithograph by former disco diva and artist Donna Summer; a Les Paul guitar autographed by Paul and Jimmy Page; and Limoges china boxes painted and signed by Elton John, Sting and Tina Turner.

The top-dollar live auction item was a VIP package to see the 40th Annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall later this month. It went for $10,000. Other trips sold during the silent and live auctions were to London; Glasgow; Frankfurt; Los Angeles (including VIP passes to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno); New York City (a theater tour); Nantucket (for a celebrity fishing tournament); Gatlinburg; Gulf Shores, Ala.; Chicago; Atlanta; San Francisco and the Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry.

The silent auction included all kinds of autographed country artist memorabilia: a Harley Davidson helmet signed by Alan Jackson; platinum award plaques donated by Patty Loveless, Vince Gill and Clint Black; sheet music to "I Will Always Love You," framed along with an autographed photo of the songwriter, Dolly Parton; a signed copy of Naomi Judd's collection of recipes; a chenille sweater signed and actually worn by Deana Carter; a denim jacket signed by the members of BlackHawk; and guitars autographed by Gill, Loveless and Pam Tillis (who also donated a sequined western shirt).

Art and sports lovers were also not to be left out of the fun. There were a number of paintings, sculptures and other objets d'art, including works by Nashville artist Doug Williams. The sports category included a basketball signed by Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwan of the NBA's Houston Rockets; passes to the NASCAR Winston Cup Race; an official World Series baseball singed by the 1997 World Series Champion Florida Marlins; and a No. 4 Green Bay Packers jersey autographed by quarterback Brett Favre, three-time winner of the NFL's Most Valuable Player award.