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Auction of Champions supports tractor safety program

​​​​​​​​The Auction of Champions, held in September at RiverEdge Golf Course, raised a record $247,000, to benefit the National Farm Medicine Center (NFMC). This includes funds to support NFMC's new tractor rollover protection program.

Brian H. Ewert, M.D., Marshfield Clinic president Brian H. Ewert, M.D., Marshfield Clinic president

More than $43,000 in gifts were given during the Fund-A-Need portion of the Auction. The money will be used to encourage the installation of Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS) on approximately 50 tractors in Wisconsin.

A rollover protective structure refers to operator compartment structures – usually cabs or roll bars – intended to protect the driver from rollover injuries. Tractor rollovers are the leading cause of death on farms. More than half the tractors in Wisconsin do not have rollover protection.

ROPS are one of the most effective known safety interventions, and are 99 percent effective in preventing injury or death in the event of an overturn when used with a seatbelt.

Brian H. Ewert, M.D., Marshfield Clinic president, recently purchased a ROPS for his tractor. "I can see first-hand how important these systems are to the safety of the farmers operating these machines," Dr. Ewert said.

Since the first Auction in 1982, the annual gala has raised nearly $2.8 million for NFMC, a prog​ram of Marshfield Clinic Research Institute​​.

The success of the event is thanks in large part to the hard work of the event committee, chaired by Clinic Dermatologist Erik Stratman, M.D., and consisting of 45 community members. It's also due to the generosity of so many businesses and individuals, said Leah Alters, special events coordinator in the Clinic's Development Department.

In addition to the unique packages on the live auction, guests enjoyed nearly 75 items on the silent auction, a gun and jewelry raffle and an incredible cheese tasting display, compliments of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

A three-minute video further explaining the tractor rollover protection program may be viewed on the NFMC's home page.