A huge crowd turned out Friday in support of the 36th Annual Stephenville Optimist Club Auction.

According to club member Steve Steed, the man in charge of counting all the cash, this year’s event was the best auction ever. Although Steed said it might be a month before he has an exact figure on the total funds collected, he estimates that about $45,600 was raised from the event.

Steed said the auction got off to a slow start, but by 9 p.m. things began to pick up at Wisdom Gym as bidders set aside their worries of high gas prices and a struggling economy and raised their hands to join in the club’s efforts of supporting local youth.

The Optimists said they want to thank all those who donated items to the auction.

“Without the businesses and community members who donated the items, the event would have never been possible,” Steed said. “We were expecting that we might see some downtime at this year’s auction due to the economy, but donations kept coming in.”

Secondly, for everyone who spent their hard-earned dollars, Steed said that the club is also grateful.

“The money bidders spent turned the donated items into cash to support local youth. For that, we say thanks to everyone,” Steed said. “Every penny that we earned will be used to benefit youth right here in our local community.”