Last year at the Farm Progress Show I had the privilege of emceeing the rollout of the Paul Jr. Designs DEKALB motorcycle for Monsanto. It was a big day with hundreds of people on hand to see the machine, and Paul Jr. The idea was to celebrate the 100th anniversary with a commemorative chopper that the seed company would have on tour for its birthday year then auction off for charity. Along with the charity auction, the company conducted other fund raisers at corporate and field events, all of it directed at the Red Cross.
During the 2102 Farm Progress Show, as Hurricane Isaac made landfall in New Orleans, about seven years to the day after Katrina, DEKALB announced the winning bidder for the bike. Rick Brandt, CEO of BRANDT, Srpingfield, Ill., took the keys to the chopper at the Farm Progress Show. Brand says he liked the bike and its unique design and his company has always worked with DEKALB. "They celebrated their 100th birthday, we're going to celebrate our 60th," he says.
Brandt bought the chopper for $87,000 as the winning bid. The bike will sit at his corporate headquarters, and it "might get ridden in a few parades." He admits he made his winning bid in the online auction while sitting in an airport lounge in Tokyo on a long layover. "I was sitting in the Admiral's club sipping a glass of wine and bidding," he grins.
The bike, which has had only one real rider - Paul Jr. when he drove it out for the introduction - may get a few more. Brandt had its NASCAR driver on hand for the announcement - Justin Allgaier. And Rick Brandt adds that the chopper might find its way into a parade every now and then. For the immediate future, however, it has a new home in the headquarters of Brandt, where it will be on display.
DEKALB donated a total of $250,000 to the Red Cross in proceeds from the chopper auction and in those year-long fundraising activities. And the link to Isaac? The Red Cross can put that money to almost immediate use helping victims of the latest weather disaster.