SCOTTSBLUFF — The “painted pack” goes on the auction block this week to help raise funds for the area’s animal food pantry, Skipper’s Cupboard.

The Paws 4 Paws fundraising event is the creation of Becky Hale and Steve Morgheim, operators of Skipper’s Cupboard. To celebrate their 10th anniversary, they asked several area artists to apply their own imaginations to create one-of-a-kind artworks from poly-resin dog figurines.

The figurines, which were unveiled to the public in April, will be auctioned on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Weborg 21 Centre on the Scottsbluff-Gering Highway. Bidder registration starts at 6:30 p.m. The auction follows at 7 p.m. with veteran auctioneer Steve Flower handling the bidding.

“We had a rehearsal of the auction earlier this week so we know what to expect when the real thing happens,” Morgheim said. “There are so many different jobs that need to be done to make this auction successful.”

Since April, Hale and Morgheim have toured the artworks around the area, making stops at Scotts Bluff National Monument, Chimney Rock, Carhenge and the lighthouse at Lake Minatare. The “painted pack” also made appearances at the Pink Palace in McGrew, Carnegie Art Museum in Alliance and West Nebraska Arts Center in Scottsbluff. They appeared in several parades, including Heritage Days in Alliance, Tabor Days in Minatare, Camp Clarke Days in Bridgeport, the Scotts Bluff County Fair Parade in Mitchell and Oregon Trail Days in Gering.

Morgheim said that during Oregon Trail Days, the dogs were on display in Legion Park. A visitor from Albuquerque, New Mexico, wanted to buy one of them on the spot, but Morgheim explained they were going to be auctioned. So she emailed a bid for the one she wanted.

“People have been really impressed with the imaginative creations the artists came up with,” he said. "They’ve been so well-received because these are quality pieces that could easily appear in art museums.”

Featured artists include: Brandon Bailey, Priscilla Bailey-Sandoz, Jani Barger, Ryan Bosche, Shane Brumbaugh, Mason and Hailey Brumbaugh, Caitlyn Carter, Rodney Clause, Stephanie Bruns-Dadgostar, Michele Denton, Kerri Dishman, Beth Erdman, Rachelle Eversole, Diane Filing, Wade Friedlan, Kay Grote, Charla Maxwell Herbert, Doug Hoevet, Valerie Keenan, Yelena Khanevskaya, Tanya Klingsporn, Rose Mapel, Randall May, Jennifer Meisner, Julie Morrison, Julie Nighswonger, Tami Powell, Paige Schneider, Steve Settles, Becci Thomas, Debbi Thomas, Leigh Thompson, Donna Thompson, Jorge Martin Vargas, Bud Watson and Tracy Wilkes.

Skipper’s Cupboard, a pet food bank, has expanded during its first 10 years to serve pet owners in need across the Panhandle and eastern Wyoming. Morgheim’s records show that 128,000 pounds of food have been distributed since they opened. Their vans have made some 5,000 deliveries, racking up enough mileage to go around the world three times.

There’s always a need to provide pet food because people’s lives can be so unpredictable. A government shutdown, increases in food costs, utilities or medical premiums can stretch household budgets to the limit.

“I never take a day for granted because we’re just so blessed to be able to provide this service,” Morgheim said in an earlier interview. “The smiles and thank yous from those we help are all the compensation we need.”

For more information on Skipper’s Cupboard, contact Becky Hale or Steve Morgheim at 308-672-5105.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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