LAS VEGAS — Lunch with Elon Musk, a Fender Telecaster signed by Elvis and a date with Buddy the Cat were among the big-ticket auctions expected to help raise millions on Saturday for non-profits at the fourth annual Bucks 4 Buddies charity drive.
The proceeds from the event will be divided among animal shelters and veterinary clinics across the country, helping them stay afloat during difficult economic times and the height of kitten season.
Bidding for the Elvis-signed Telecaster had reached almost $160,000, while the top bidder pledged $75,000 for lunch with Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla and SpaceX.
Neither matched the frenetic bidding war that had erupted over a dinner date with Buddy the Cat, insiders said. By early Saturday evening the top bid had reached almost a quarter of a million and showed no signs of slowing down.
”Ladies and gentlemen, a quarter of a million dollars!” the auctioneer announced. “Do I have $275 thousand? Two hundred and seventy five, two hundred and seventy five to the elegant lady in the swan dress! Do I have 300? Three hundred thousand! Three hundred to the young lady in the back! Do I have three fifty?”
One woman sighed and hung her head in frustration as the bidding surpassed $400,000, leaving the auction to bidders with fatter wallets.
“I came here specifically for this auction,” said the woman, a European aristocrat who asked that she not be identified by name.
“Don’t feel too bad, darlin’,” said another woman, the well-coiffed wife of a Houston megachurch pastor who was fanning herself with a copy of the auction program. “I had to quit at three hundred thousand. Shame, too. Buddy looks so adorable in his little tuxedo!”
The auction’s organizers said they were delighted by the bidding war over dinner with the gray tabby after other auction items — including a night on the town with Rob Schneider and a weekend hunting pheasants with former Vice President Dick Cheney — fell short of expectations.
Other items on the auction slate did considerably better. A personal performance of “One Night In Bangkok” by Mike Tyson fetched $45,000, while a gold-plated dinner bowl encrusted with 24 karat diamonds — which belonged to Paris Hilton’s dog before she purchased a more ornate bowl for the pooch — brought in $92,500, auction organizers said.
Regardless, the date with Buddy the Cat was poised to bring in the biggest haul and easily garnered the most interest among female attendees of the charity auction.
The bidding was expected to last well into the night, with several determined parties — including supermodel Gigi Hadid, Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco and a white Persian believed to be the foundress of Fancy Feast — each looking to outbid the others for the privilege of dining with Buddy.
“We’re going to Tavern on the Green in Central Park,” a confident Hadid said, “where we’ll toast with champagne before I squeeze those adorable little cheeks! He’s so dreamy!”