MANCHESTER — The Augusta Country Club has played at least two important roles for the Kennebec Valley Humane Society in as many decades.

When the humane society was trying to raise $1.2 million in the late 1990s for an expansion, it found itself $20,000 short by the end of the fundraising campaign. Then Charlie Shuman, owner of Charlie’s Motor Mall, was playing golf at the Augusta-area club and landed a hole in one, earning him a prize: a Buick.

Shuman, who is an honorary director of the humane society along with his wife, Nancy, sold the car and donated the proceeds to the fundraising campaign, pushing it past the $1.2 million goal.

On Sunday, the country club — which is located in Manchester — helped the humane society in another way: by hosting its annual auction 18 years after it began in a much smaller venue.

“It started in our house,” Charlie Shuman said on Sunday, standing near the entry of the clubhouse. “Then it grew and grew and grew, and it got bigger and bigger and bigger.”

This year’s auction included live and silent portions with prizes ranging from theater tickets to pet treats to skydiving.

“I look around the room and can think of a number of people I’d like to see jump out of a plane,” said auctioneer Jay Hanson at the beginning of the live auction to laughs from the crowded clubhouse.

He was starting bidding on the skydiving trip, which sold for $120. Next up was a homemade apple pie, then an acrylic painting, then a social membership to Augusta Country Club, then a feline wellness package, then a pair of sunglasses — and on and on.

More than 100 people typically attend the humane society’s annual auctions, said executive director Hillary Roberts. Beyond the money that is raised, Roberts said, the event also helps supporters learn about new efforts underway by the group. One such effort is Barn Buddies, an adoption program for feral cats who can’t necessarily stay in homes, but might be able to serve as barn cats for area farmers or residents.

“One of the most critical needs is for Barn Buddy adoptions,” Roberts said. “We have more feral cats than ever now.”

The humane society now places about 97 percent of animals who come through its doors, Roberts said. That’s a 30 percent improvement from five years ago, but feeding and housing the animals is costly, Roberts said, expressing gratitude to all who donated products and services for the auction.

The total raised during the auction was not immediately available Sunday afternoon.

Several potential bidders who attended the event said they did so to support stray animals.

“Animals need some care, TLC you might say,” said Philip Tiemann of Augusta. “They don’t get it everywhere.”

Tiemann, a 91-year-old veteran of World War II and the Korean War, wore a plaid sport coat with a pin marking his service. He attended the event with his daughter, Maryanne Tiemann. In the silent auction, he said, he bid on a package from The Quarry Tap Room in Hallowell that included a cap and a gift certificate to the restaurant.

Another would-be bidder, Diane Schrader of Manchester, came to the auction with her husband, Jack, and said she might bid on jewelry or gift certificates. She has two cats, a Maine Coon Cat-mix named Morgan and a long-haired named Buff, both adopted from a shelter in Rockland.

“I come to this auction every year,” she said. “They do a great job. If they didn’t take them in, where would all these strays go?”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker


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