Auction, gala to support home

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

For most Natchez residents, there would be little chance of obtaining a Willie Mayes-autographed baseball outside of a costly eBay auction.

But on Dec. 4, visitors to the Celebrity Players Tour gala and auction at Isle of Capri Hotel could walk away with a piece of sports history for the envious task of meeting an NFL great.

Former professional quarterbacks Jim McMahon, Steve Bartkowski, Stan Humphries and Browning Nagle will be on hand at the event, which will feature autographed balls and jerseys, sports-related trips and other items available for raffle, silent and live auction, according to event organizer and Natchez resident Finley Trosclair.

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Proceeds from the event will benefit the Natchez Children’s Home, an organization Trosclair has done his best to support for almost a decade.

&uot;The Children’s Home is very important to us,&uot; he said. &uot;We know this event will be successful. We’re very excited about the whole thing.&uot;

Trosclair is the marketing director for the Celebrity Players Tour, which will hold its last event of the year in Fort Myers, Fla. on Dec. 10. McMahon and the other players will stop in Natchez en route to Florida.

Trosclair and Lee Moore, also with CPT, have used their proximity to celebrities through the tour to amass a large selection of autographed items, including Steve Young jerseys, John Elway and Dan Marino footballs, Charles Barkley basketballs and Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk baseballs.

&uot;Ray Simpson at Sports Center was very good about getting us the actual balls to sign,&uot; Trosclair said. &uot;I’d tell the players what it was for, and they’d be happy to sign.&uot;

Tickets for the the gala can be purchased at the Natchez Children’s Home, Sports Center, Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club and SAL Financial Services. The price is $40 and includes five raffle tickets.

&uot;There will be some great items given away in the raffle,&uot; Trosclair said. &uot;Someone may walk out of there with a John Elway football. They’re not necessarily going to have to spend $3,000 to have to get anything.&uot;

The auction is the latest effort by Trosclair and Moore to benefit the Natchez Children’s Home.

The duo started out together 10 years ago on the T.C. Jordon Tour, which made an annual stop in Natchez. The Jordon tour became the Hooters Tour, but stopped coming to Natchez a few years ago.

&uot;We wanted to find a way to continue to benefit the home through golf,&uot; Trosclair said. &uot;This a mini-version of what we do nationwide.&uot;

As this is the first time such an event has been planned, no monetary goal has been set.

&uot;Any money that comes in is new money that we didn’t have before,&uot; said Nancy Hungerford, the home’s director.

The Natchez Children’s home provides a healthy, family-structured, Christian environment for abandoned and abused youth, Hungerford said. The home receives no federal aid and is dependent upon community support and fund-raising efforts such as the auction, she said.