Libby Hoover leaves home often. She goes out to eat. She loves Las Vegas shows, and she’s even game for staycations and spa days at local casino hotels.
Libby pays for her outings, but often doesn’t pay full price. Instead, she peruses more than 20 Las Vegas charity auctions, chooses favorite leisure activities among auction offerings, places her bids and hopes to get a bargain.
Libby and her husband Bill have lived in Las Vegas since 1996. When they lived in New Jersey, they were regular “tricky tray” participants. They bought charity raffle tickets, placed the tickets in baskets next to donated items they wish to win and hoped for the best.
In Las Vegas, the petite redhead discovered charity auctions, and she hasn’t looked back. She loves the excitement, the challenge (including research), the outings, and the fact that her donations help local charities.
In her years as an auction participant, Libby has been successful in winning auctions for one or two people up to 15 people. A win several years ago was dinner at the Palms for a group of 15 people “and I found 15 people who wanted to go,” she says proudly. Most recently, a Libby party of eight had center section seats for a Human Nature performance. (Yes, Libby’s friends and relatives are often beneficiaries of her successful auction bids.)
Auction perusal is serious business for this retired businesswoman. In addition to keeping track of a crowded calendar, if Libby sees a casino/hotel package that interests her, research tells her how much the individual items in the package would typically cost. If the bid price seems to be a bargain, Libby participates. “With online auctions and even event auctions,” she says, “I will get emails when I have been outbid, then I decide if I put in another even higher bid.”
Libby’s rule in the early days of her auction participation in Las Vegas was to only bid on items if she could get them at what she viewed as half price. However, she admits that many auctions these days set minimum prices on items that are above her target. She may or may not bid on those items, depending on their appeal.
Among Libby’s favorite auctions in Las Vegas are those associated with annual fundraising events such as Power of Love (Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health), NF (Neurofibromatosis) Hope Concert, Junior League of Las Vegas (Paint the Town Red), TIP’s Heroes of Heart (Trauma Intervention Program of Southern Nevada), Golden Rainbow’s Ribbon of Life (benefiting people living with HIV/Aids), Nevada Broadcaster’s Association, KNPR (National Public Radio) and Mondays Dark (a variety of local charities). Libby is on lots of mailing lists now and gets notified when auctions are taking place.
Typically bidding online, Libby has also attended some of the charity events offering auctions. When Libby saw that one of her favorite performers, Michael Buble, was appearing at Keep Memory Alive several years ago, she asked her husband to buy her a ticket and forget any and all other “wife” gifts for the rest of the year. “I sat at one of the back tables, met some very nice people and loved it,” she says. She has attended this event every year since.
Libby has learned a few lessons about charity auctions along the way. One of them is to make sure to know the expiration date of bid items. “For auctions early in the year, you may have the entire year to use an activity item; auctions later in the year may expire in a matter of weeks or months”.
Once an auction item is successfully bid, an email is sent and the item or a certificate may be mailed to the bidder, it may be delivered to the bidder’s home or “you may have to drive all the way across town to pick up your winning item or certificate”.
Libby also makes a practice of sending thank-you notes to the people who make arrangements for her use of her successful bid certificates. “Those people can be very helpful,” she says.
Looking at Libby’s calendar from now to the end of the year, she must schedule three staycations and two show visits. Husband Bill, a retired Police Lieutenant from The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department (PAPD), is now a homebody and says simply that he’s happy if his wife is enjoying her evenings out. He and their German Shephard rescue, Gracie, enjoy their own alone time.
Libby is a fan of many strip performers and has paid full price for them. She says the local shows she can see over and over again (and has) include Human Nature, the Bronx Wanderers, Frankie Scinta and Clint Holmes. She also was a BIG fan of the Jersey Boys show and if it comes back to the Strip, she’ll be there.
In the meantime, Libby will keep looking for bargain auction items. She says many of the “best deals” are at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa, but she’s open to visiting other places for rooms, dining, spa days and shows. Libby does a little gambling, but has a strict budget. She saves her money for the auctions.
Many years ago, I was bidding for an opportunity to meet and interview Clint Holmes on the radio as part of a local cancer charity fundraiser. I was bidding against “somebody” and although, at the last minute, I won the bid, I later met the “somebody”, Libby Hoover.