March Madness Calcutta a huge success

The inaugural NCAA March Madness Calcutta was nothing short of a smashing success.

Last Wednesday’s Calcutta at the Butte Country Club raised nearly $13,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to continue the research for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, according to event organizer Rick Anderson.

NCAA tournament teams sold for a total of just under $90,000. Of that, 10 percent goes to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The rest goes to the winning bidders.

By comparison, a similar event in Missoula raised about $103,000 last year. That Calcutta was in its 14th year.

A silent auction and other fundraisers at the Butte event raised the total donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to almost $13,000.

“The support was great,” Anderson said. “You can’t say enough about our community.”

Anderson’s daughter Kotie is married to Eric Dumnire. The couple’s daughter Reese is battling Cystic Fibrosis.

Anderson’s nephew, NFL safety Colt Anderson, was the special guest at last week’s auction.

“Colt gave a little pitch,” Rick Anderson said. “He told them about Cystic Fibrosis and got everyone in the mood.”

The winning team will take home about $20,000, Anderson said. Second place will win about $9,700.

Florida, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, was the final team auctioned off. The Gators sold for $8,000.

“They got in a bidding war,” Anderson said. “We saved Florida for last.”

Michigan State sold for $4,700, while Louisville went for $4,500. Tournament disappointments Wichita State and Duke went for $3,100 and $3,000.

Anderson said he got the idea for the event while talking to Missoula’s Mike Helean during a Cystic Fibrosis walk last year. Helean owns Red’s Bar and his Calcutta is now in its 15th year.

Anderson credits Bob Lazzari of Butte for actually making it happen. He also praised the auctioneering of Ted Odle and his “ring man” Jim Fisher.

Plans are already being made for a second year of the Calcutta, Anderson said.

“We’re actually meeting today to talk about next year and see what we can tweak and do better,” he said. “Everybody loved it. It definitely was a success. Everybody is excited for next year.”