Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

February 18, 2013

Residents warm up to horse auction, charity

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

ALTAMONT — Cassis might be one of the most renowned athletes to ever visit Altamont.

The 6-year-old standardbred stallion had the best heat time at last year's Hambletonian harness racing event before retiring. Owned by a syndicate headed by Carl Becker of Fair Meadow Farm in Altamont, Cassis is being housed at the University of Illinois.

Saturday, Becker hosted an auction that had two purposes - to find Cassis a mare to breed with and raise money for two local organizations.

Billed as Fair in February, the event was held at Stuckemeyer Auction Center in Altamont.

Becker, who owns a majority interest in the syndicate that owns Cassis, said he thought local horse enthusiasts would enjoy seeing the big fellow.

"We thought it would be nice to bring a horse of this caliber to Altamont," he said. "Normally, this kind of horse would never come to this area."

Becker said world-class horses are more apt to be shown at the larger farms in central Kentucky, the eastern seaboard, or even overseas.

Dave and Kathy Corder of Altamont bid $2,400 for the right to breed one of their mares to Cassis. Becker said the Corders paid $240 at the time of the sale, with the other $2,000 due when their mare bears a live foal.

Overall, the auction raised $3,530 to be equally split between the Altamont Fire Protection District and Effingham County Right to Life. Other items auctioned off included University of Illinois clothing and horse-related equipment.

"People were very generous," Becker said. "They knew they were bidding for charity, so they bid appropriately."

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com