Who says you have to go to Las Vegas, Cripple Creek or even Dodge City to find the fun and excitement of a casino-style atmosphere?

People who attend the 2012 Garden City Community College Endowment Association Scholarship Auction, "Lucky 13," can count on a jackpot of chance, luck and surprise at the Finney County Exhibition Building.

The 34th annual auction, which organizers consider a premier social event for southwest Kansas, is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. April 13, and there's still time to purchase admission, make reservations and plan on going.

In most years, the auction attracts more than 1,000 people for an evening of entertainment and competitive bidding, with the 33rd annual event in 2011 raising a gross total of more than $182,000 for academic and technical scholarships to assist GCCC students, plus projects to enhance academics.

Admission will be by wristband for the fourth straight year, rather than tickets or buttons, and the cost is $25 per person. Wristbands won't be sold at the door, and admission must be purchased in advance.

The doors will open to wristband wearers at 6 p.m. the evening of the sale, with the 300-item silent auction starting at 6:30 p.m., and the 100-item live auction the main event getting under way at 7:30 p.m., conducted by Scott Auction of Garden City.

Admission locations and car drawing

Locations to get admission wristbands include:

* The Endowment Association office at the GCCC Student and Community Services Center

* Keller Leopold Insurance, 302 Fleming St.

* Kinney Glass, 415 N. Eighth St.

* Goldworks, 1005 N. Main St.

* Skeeter's Body Shop, 3104 W. Jones Ave.

* Western Motor, at Fifth and Fulton streets.

Endowment Association board members also are selling admission wristbands.

The sponsoring organization also is conducting a donation drawing for a 2012 GMC Terrain. The $50 tickets in the car drawing are being offered in the same locations as the wristbands, with the winner's name to be drawn at the conclusion of the auction, whether present or not.

The mocha metallic-colored four-door SUV is valued at more than $32,000, and it's on display at Western Motor. The vehicle includes a six-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, heated seats, rear-vision camera, remote start, all-wheel drive and various additional features. Only 800 tickets were printed, and when they're gone, they're gone.

Items on the block

Businesses and individuals throughout southwest Kansas are donating goods, funds and services for the auction, and anyone with contributions or questions about the event, or about sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, is welcome to contact the association at 276-9578. That's also the number for table reservations of six persons or more. In addition, information is available at www.gcccendowment.org.

A small sampling of the 100 items in the live auction includes:

* Tickets to see the popular Canadian rock band Nickelback in concert June 8 in Wichita.

* Accommodations for four days and three nights in a two-story, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium in Las Vegas, located 15 minutes from the strip.

* Tickets to see the Denver Broncos from 40 yard line seats at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.

* Admission to a key Kansas State University Wildcat home game at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium in Manhattan.

Donors also have provided more than 90 other travel experiences, special services and top-flight merchandise, not to mention everything from collectibles and memorabilia to original artwork and gift certificates in the silent segment of the sale.

Dinner and additional drawings

In addition to the bidding, auction goers can try their luck in a 13-item fish bowl drawing. People at the sale can get in on an additional donation drawing that offers the prize of a Vegas round-trip giveaway.

People who arrive hungry can even find dinner. Beverages will be provided free of charge throughout the evening, and there's going to be a $7 Pizza Hut buffet with a choice of a half-dozen kinds of pizza, plus salad, cinnamon sticks and Wing Street wings.

Missy Allen of Garden City is the coordinator for auction items and gifts. Marissa Kleysteuber, also of Garden City, is the event planning coordinator. They and the many other volunteers working the night of April 13 and before as well as Executive Director Melinda Harrington and staff are counting on "Lucky 13" to become the biggest Endowment Association auction ever.

Just remember, you need to get your admission wristband in advance, and the luckiest time to do that is now.