Fans gather at Gage Park to watch K-State in Elite Eight
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - K-State fans were treated to a great sports atmosphere on Saturday, and a chance to bid in an auction that holds a special meaning to many people.
“What’s great about this project is we had a donor a few years ago that was collecting sports memorabilia to host an auction for our benefit. Her name was Nancy Hopkins, she unfortunately passed away. So tonight was our way to be able to finish her project. So we have a lot of great memorabilia from KU, K-State, Chiefs, Royals... all sorts of regional schools,” said Jared Bednar, director of administrative and creative for the Topeka Zoo.
For Jared Bednar, holding this event at the Kay McFarland Japanese Garden was a way to bring people together as well as honor a close friend.
“Here at the Topeka Zoo & Wildlife Conservation Center of course we care so much about promoting sustainability, about promoting conservation, and promoting community experiences. And so when you have a donor that’s gonna take that extra step to try to help you succeed in your mission... to be able to kind of finish what Nancy started really is quite powerful,” said Bednar.
Many of the items up for bid in the silent auction were collected by Nancy Hopkins over the many years she spent working at KU basketball games.
“Well of course there’s a lot of KU stuff and she did it personally while she was the shot-clock keeper. She passed unexpectedly two years ago, but she would get the basketballs and then get them signed. We have a lot of different items that she would go after,” said Elaine Schwartz, trustee of the Kay McFarland estate.
For those involved in Saturday’s event, it was a great opportunity to give back.
“It’s a community effort and when Kay McFarland gave her estate to the Topeka Zoo, it was a community effort to bring people together and this is one good way to do it,” Schwartz said.
Many people in attendance put any rivalries aside for the day and cheered for the local team.
“We have daughters that graduated KU, a son that graduated K-State. We had a son that went to Emporia State. No matter what Kansas team is playing, we’re rooting for them. So yes, we’re a little bit nervous, but it’s always good to have a little bit of butterflies,” said Schwartz.
All of the proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center.
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