Bilby Buys Chautauqua Ticket Number One

Civic engagement and entertainment news from the June 25, 1914 Skidmore New Era, page 1:

Chautauqua Ticket No. 1 Brought $75

Sold at Auction Saturday Evening at Band Stand, Skidmore — Purchaser, R. I. Bilby.

The committee on season tickets for the Chautauqua advertised that they would sell at auction to the highest bidder, ticket No. 1.  This ticket would carry with it all the rights of any season ticket for the Chautauqua beside a reserved seat and a seat on the platform.  With this ticket would also be issued a souvenir badge bearing the number of the ticket, date and name of the Chautauqua and also the purchaser’s name, if so desired.

The auction was held right after the band had given a concert at the band stand, then G. L. Owen, chairman of the season ticket committee, stepped to the front of the band stand platform and announced that he would sell to the highest bidder, ticket number one for Skidmore.  After giving the object of the sale, which of course was a boosting proposition for the Chautauqua, the ticket was started at $5.  It went along at a moderate gate until it reached $25, when J. E. Strickler and R. I. Bilby got into the game, then it took on new life and soon jumped up to $50, $55 and $65.  C. E. Owens bid $67.50 and R. I. Bilby raised him to $75 and the ticket was knocked off to him.

Russell Bilby is one of the best boosters in northwest Missouri and never does anything by halves.  He said to the boys, “come on, the ticket is not near its value, yet,” but the boys didn’t have the nerve to stay with “R. I.” any longer and let him have the ticket for seventy-five “plunks.”

Chautauqua season ticket — $75!  Rather steep, isn’t it?  But that’s the exact amount that Russell I. Bilby paid for the first ticket to the  Skidmore Chautauqua, July 12-17 auctioned from the Skidmore bandstand Saturday night at 8 o’clock.

The bidding started at $5 and the man that made the bid felt mighty sorrowful afterward.  He simply wasn’t in it.

G. L. Owen held the rostrum and made the big noise.  Six men were in the bidding.  A big crowd, as is usual at Skidmore Saturday nights, observed the auction and encouraged the prices.

According to F. H. Barrett of Skidmore, one of the strongest boosters for the chautauqua, the price paid Saturday night is the largest ever registered in Northwest Missouri including St. Joseph.  Only the first ticket was sold. The others will be offered to the public later.

The Skidmore chautauqua this year, as usual, promises to be a mighty important affair.

Tents are to be rented out and a camp formed.  The chautauqua will last six days.  Programs already are out.  The boosters are working hard and are well organized.  Rev. W. H. Welton heads the organization, H. W. Montgomery, cashier of the Farmer’s Bank, is secretary.

A men’s charter member roll is being organized with one hundred members.  A ladies’ chautauqua circle of one hundred members also is being organized. — Maryville Tribune.

To boost their Chautauqua which opens July 12, the Skidmore officers of the affair sold the first ticket at auction Saturday for $75.  This price is probably the record breaker for a Chautauqua ticket No. 1.  The purchaser was russell I. Bilby, and with the ticket goes a handsome souvenir badge as a memento of the sale.

The Skidmore Chautauqua opens July 12, and lasts six days.  The program is under the direction of the Kansas City Middle West circuit, which insures one of the best series of events obtainable. — Democrat-Forum.