The Charlotte 49ers Athletic Foundation's Great Gold Rush Auction raised over $200,000 for the 49ers athletic scholarship fund.  The 27th annual event was held on Saturday, June 5 at Halton Arena.  Over 630 attendees, the highest in the past five years, bid on a large variety of items valued at over $360,000.

            "I was so pleased that we had the best attendance we have had in the last five years," said 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose. "We all know about the economy, but the folks in attendance also know the correlation of scholarships to success so they felt it important to support this event."

            Proceeds from the auction go directly to the 49ers Athletic Scholarship fund.

            Krista Long, a former all-conference volleyball star for the 49ers and a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors served as Auction Chair.  Long is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ryland Homes.  Chartwells, a division of the Compass Group, served as presenting sponsor.  Wachovia - A Wells Fargo Company and the Pepsi Bottling Group served as supporting sponsors.

            "I have enjoyed this event for several years and really looked forward to the opportunity to work with the many volunteers who make the night such a success," Long said.  "With one remarkable evening, the 49er Club is able to raise substantial money while building and cultivating vital relationships.  What a wonderful evening, both for the 49ers and the huge crowd that turned out."

            Highlights for this year's live auction included the opportunity to be a sportscaster for a day on WBTV's 10pm news, road trips with the 49ers men's basketball team, coach for a day with men's basketball's Alan Major and women's basketball's Karen Aston, vacations in Hawaii and St. John, the opportunity to fly a fighter jet, a trip for two to the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge in Lake Placid, two tickets to Super Bowl XLV and NASCAR VIP packages. Silent auction items included a variety of sports memorabilia, electronics, restaurant and hotel packages, 49er gear, art and a wide variety of items for the home and garden. 

            The evening was hosted by former President and CEO of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company Dale Halton and Mark Colone, a 49ers alum who serves as Vice President of the Signature Sports Group. Among those in attendance were Chancellor Philip Dubois and his wife, Lisa Lewis Dubois; former United States Ambassador Mark Erwin; Irwin Belk; Tom and Lib Phillips and former UNC Charlotte Chancellor Dr. Jim Woodward (and his wife, Martha).

            Next year's 28th Annual Great Gold Rush Auction is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, 2011 at Halton Arena.