The Barton Community College Foundation’s Big Benefit Auction had a Western theme in 1981, and the Claflin Fire Department donated the buffalo head to add a bit of humor to the event.
“Old Bill” was sold to the highest bidder and brought in $700 the first year.
The work of taxidermy art was then donated back to the college and it was displayed at Camp Aldrich. It was auctioned the same way every year for the next two decades, raising tens of thousands of dollars for academic scholarships and program enhancements.
It wasn’t until 2002 that “Old Bill” was transitioned to an honorarium. Instead of bids, auction attendees make pledges toward the Foundation’s cause in the name of longtime supporters of the college. So far, honorees have been:
2002 – Past Barton President Jimmie Downing
2003 – Jim and Jo Heaton
2004 – Dale and Donna Oliver
2005 – Don and Phyllis Whelan
2006 – George and Frances Tregellas
2007 – Keith and Marian Mull
2008 – Dan and Nancy Peschka
2009 – Al Yost
2010 – M.E. Marmie
2011 – Roger and Mary Lou Murphy
2012 – Ron and Debbie Koelsch and mother June
Old Bill is still around, residing in the upper level of the Barton Student Union.