“Here we go again.”
With those words, Jim Glines kicked off ticket sales Thursday morning for the 16th annual Joe White Memorial Dinner and Auction.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.
It’s a labor of love for Glines, the Chairman of the Board at your Community Bank of Santa Maria, and his Joe White Committee.
“I was very close to Joe when I was a growing up,” said Glines. “He really meant a lot to me. Joe gave me a lot of guidance and I have always been thankful for it.”
Joe White was a long-time coach and athletic director at Hancock.
“Joe thought sports would get Hancock some positive notoriety — put Hancock on the map,” said Glines.
The college, which began as Santa Maria Junior College in 1920, was originally housed on the campus of Santa Maria High School.
It moved to its current location, on the site of the former Hancock Field, in 1954 and re-named in honor of Captain Allan G. Hancock.
“Joe White was one of three men who went over to the new Hancock Field location from Santa Maria High,” said Glines.
White was the prime mover of the Hancock sports program and, when the college finally had the money, personally supervised every step in the building of the school’s gymnasium.
As a young man, Glines regularly stopped by to watch the construction.
“I remember Joe out there making sure everything got done,” said Glines. “We always called it the House the Joe White built.”
By the early 2000s, the old Hancock Gym was badly in need of repairs.
That’s when the idea for a dinner and auction began.
“We wanted to renovate the gym and re-name it in Joe’s honor,” said Glines. “The floor was in bad shape and initially we wanted to raise enough money to replace it.”
At the time, Glines was the president of the Hancock College Boosters. They created a separate Joe White Memorial Committee to concentrate on the fundraising dinner — the college’s largest fundraiser of the year and, in 2002, the Joe White Memorial Dinner and Auction came to life.
“We’ve been able to turn over more than $760,000 since we got this started,” said Glines. “Last year we began a project to put a state-of-the-art scoreboard in the football/soccer stadium. We’ve already put a down payment on it and it’s going to be spectacular. We’re hoping to complete the funding for it this year.”
But it was the old gym with its warped floor the first drew Glines’ and the Joe White Committee’s attention.
Once the work started, it didn’t take long for everyone to notice that the floor wasn’t the gym’s only problem.
“The gym really needed a paint job, it needed new lights and we wanted to raise enough money to get that done,” said Glines. “Then we went on and had a new sound system installed and renovated the old press box.”
Since then, the Joe White Dinner has helped fund new baseball fields and renovations to the softball field.
“We’ve done Osborne Field twice with new fields and dugouts — the first time renovating the original field on the east side of College Drive, then moving and completely rebuilding it across the street,” Glines said. “And we’ve added a new scoreboard to the softball field.”
Moving Osborne Field across the street allowed Hancock the space it needed to rebuild its soccer fields, add a track and bring the football team on-campus for the first time in its history.
"The Joe White Memorial has been a critical necessity to our program," said Hancock's Athletic Director Kim Ensing. "Without this fundraising event we wouldn't have even one new scoreboard and now we have three — basketball, softball and baseball. Thank goodness Jim has the heart to spearhead this event."
The event includes dinner and an auction.
Dinner first — Billy Ruiz and Cowboy Flavor are catering the event.
“Billy does the best New York Strip and makes the best tamales,” said Glines.
"The dinner is a lot of fun," said Ensing. "There is so much work getting ready for this, it can be exhausting but it has really turned into a special event to kick off the school year."
All night silent auction items will be up for bid and after dinner there will be a live auction.
“We have a number of great items that will be up for bid,” said Glines. “We’ll begin with a desert auction. We’ll be auctioning some amazing deserts. Last year we raised $4,600 on the desert auction alone.
“And we’ll have about 20 live auction items. We’ll be auctioning tickets for the Rams/49ers game (on Thursday, Sept. 21) at Levi’s Stadium, L.A. Kings tickets paired with dinner, L.A. Angels tickets that will come with an Albert Pujols autographed baseball. You’ll be able to bid on a special Las Vegas New Year’s Eve package — two nights at the South Point with airfare, cash and their New Year’s Eve party included. There’s a Winter Wonderland waffle dinner, which has become a surprising big hit, a filet mignon and lobster dinner plus numerous surprises.”
Hancock and L.A. Lakers’ legend Bill Bertka has made it to most of the Joe White Memorial Dinners.
White hired Bertka who later led the college to the first of its two junior college state basketball championships. Bertka always brings exciting Lakers memorabilia and is expected to do so again.
“This dinner has brought some amazing people together,” said Glines. “The community has been enormously generous with their support of the Joe White Committee and Hancock College."
"This brings the whole community together," said Ensing. "We have students, teachers and staff and tremendous people from the community coming out to support Hancock — a whole bunch of people we love seeing every year. There are a lot of places in California that don't have this kind of community support."
“We never intended this to go on for so many years but we had so much fun,” Glines said. “We’re in our final push to get the scoreboard done but I know there is another project down the road. It may be a big project or a small project but I am sure there will be more for us to do.”
"I look forward to it every year," said Ensing. "I have this countdown clock in my head — the beginning of the school year, the beginning of football season and the Joe White Dinner."
Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner served promptly at 7:07 p.m. with the live auction to follow.
Tickets are $60 and several levels of sponsorships are available.
For dinner reservations, donations or more information, call Jada Clark at (805) 720-7493 or visit athletics/hancockcollege.edu to register online.