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Harley-Davidson becomes centerpiece of Wisconsin potato charity event

by | November 03, 2010
One lucky person in South Carolina — Ricky McCloud — is tooling around on a Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883C motorcycle that is bedecked with a Wisconsin staple: potatoes.

"I love the direction our annual direct-mail produce buyer sweepstakes has taken this year," Tim Feit, director of promotions and consumer education for the Antigo, WI-based Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, said in an Oct. 29 press release. “Officially, Cecil (Chico) Caprioli from Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company was the winner. But in cooperation with the Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company corporate office, they donated the Spudster to the Piggly Wiggly Charity Classic, a charity auction. In these economic times, it's nice to see people donate a prize to the greater good.”

Ricky McCloud, who bid on and won the Sportster during the Charity Classic, owns 13 Piggly Wiggly stores in South Carolina.

Steve Harkins, category manager of Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., said in the release, “The Piggly Wiggly Charity Classic is an annual fundraising event that includes live and silent auctions. The proceeds from this event are donated to numerous charitable organizations throughout our market area of South Carolina and coastal Georgia.” Mr. Caprioli, who donated the Spudster to the Classic, is a customer of Alsum Farms & Produce Inc. in Friesland, WI, which is a grower-packer-shipper of potatoes, repacker of onions and a wholesale distributor of a full line of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Since 2002, the Wisconsin association has launched annual nine-month direct-mail sweepstakes campaigns designed to better inform produce buyers about the advantages of purchasing from Wisconsin potato shippers. At the end of each campaign, one lucky produce buyer is awarded the grand prize Sportster motorcycle known as the Spudster.

The Harley-Davidson was purchased from Wausau Harley-Davidson in Wausau, WI, and then custom-painted with the “Wisconsin Potatoes” logo by Sam Fonte of Paint N Art in Wittenberg, WI. Mr. Fonte, who owns three Harleys, was raised on a Wisconsin farm.

“The campaign was a huge success this year,” Mr. Feit said in the release. “Buyers are taking greater interest in the benefits of Wisconsin potatoes — especially produce buyers east of the Mississippi [River] — because for them, our central location means less food miles. We offer a quality product, a large variety of potatoes, eco-friendly packaging and an eco-brand: 'Healthy Grown.’“

The sweepstakes campaign, which ran from September 2009 through May 2010, provided buyers throughout the United States with opportunities to win monthly prizes, including $50, $100 and $150 gift cards from various national retailers.