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Hitting the links for a good cause

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Gilpin Education Foundation Golf Tournament

By Patty Unruh

The Gilpin Education Foundation held its eighth annual tournament at the Evergreen Golf Course August 23. The purpose of the friendly tournament was to raise funds for the educational needs of students living in Gilpin County. Sixty-two golfers on 15 teams competed in the largest event in the tournament’s history. Another record set was the $10,650 raised, before expenses.

Participants signed in at the scenic course at 7:00 a.m. and started golfing at 8:00 – early enough to beat the afternoon’s monsoon rains. There was no skill requirement; besides fund-raising, the goal was to have fun. Following the game, golfers enjoyed a lunch, with awards and raffle prizes.

The golfers’ $100 entry fee included green fees for the 18-hole tournament, a golf cart, lunch, awards for flight winners, a goodie bag, and raffle prizes. Sponsors for the event included platinum sponsor the Isle of Capri Casino, with a $2,000 donation; gold sponsor Clinton Family Trust, with a $1,000 donation; and silver sponsors ASAP Asphalt & Concrete and Same Electric Company with $500 donations.

Players got a shotgun start, meaning that each team teed off simultaneously from different holes. The tournament format was a standard four-person best ball scramble, where everyone on the team takes a shot and the best ball is played. Team members all shot from the same spot, and the best ball was used until players holed out. All team members were required to use at least two tee shots, or drives, for the round.

Players were permitted to buy “Mulligans” for five dollars apiece, or three for ten dollars. A Mulligan is an opportunity for a do-over on a poor shot, without taking a penalty. That alleviated a lot of angst over a bad shot and allowed folks to donate still more to the charity.

The first-place win went to the ASAP Asphalt team, with a score of 51. Morning Mist Landscaping was second, with 55, and the Isle took third, with 56. These top three teams won gift certificates to the Evergreen Gold Course. Also, two teams from CST Brands tied for fourth place with scores of 57.

Rob Crull of the Isle took honors for the longest drive for men, and Mark Byrnes of Morning Mist won for the longest putt. Elinora Einarsdottir of Iceland, one of Gilpin County School’s new exchange students, came in with the longest drive for women.

Raffle tickets were five dollars each and three for ten dollars. Items being raffled were several golf clubs, including a Snake Eyes brand wedge, rescue, and fairway wood, a golf bag, an electronic skee ball game, a Budweiser barbecue sauce set, a car care gift pack, and a sports crock cooker. If anyone had had the good luck to get a rare hole in one, they would have won either $10,000 or a vacation package. Despite this attractive incentive, no one was able to bag an ace.

The Foundation’s goals for the 2013-2014 school year are to help fund technology needs, fund outside learning opportunities, fund athletic and extra-curricular activities, and provide scholarships.

The Gilpin Education Foundation was established nearly 20 years ago to receive funding on behalf of programs and projects for the Gilpin County School District. In the past, the Foundation has given mini-grants to teachers, paid for students to attend special programs, subsidized trips to Europe, and bought supplies for needy students. Specific projects have included $7,000 for “smart boards,” and other funds going toward a Docucamera, sixth grade camp, local football and basketball camps, CSAP tests, NREL van, a digital camera for the Student Council, funds for Montessori classrooms, and an ink cartridge recycling program, plus sponsorship of two opera performances. Holmes said the Foundation’s rule is that monies must go to multiple students, not to just one. He added that in the past five years, the Foundation has raised about $40,000 for students.

Any student who is a Gilpin County resident may apply for a scholarship with the Foundation. This includes students who attend Gilpin County School RE-1, Nederland RE-2 and homeschooled students. Craig Holmes, Foundation president, said, “We do two students each year. As long as they live in Gilpin County, they may apply. We started the scholarship fund two years ago, so it is a fairly new thing for us.” The Foundation manages the scholarship funding requests separately from all other requests. He added that according to the Foundation’s by-laws, the children of members are not eligible to receive a scholarship from the fund.

All Foundation members are volunteers who get involved because they care about Gilpin County students. Besides Holmes, other board officers are Sarah Swanson, vice president, Kevin Armstrong, treasurer, and Kellie Bayne, secretary. Swanson, a fundraiser by profession, was participating in the tournament for the first time. Swanson’s expertise has added a new level of professionalism to the organization, Holmes said. As an example, he explained, “We are getting a license to raise funds legally through bingo and raffles.”

The Foundation will be holding its annual fundraising dinner in September, at a date to be announced. People wanting to become members or donate to the Gilpin Education Foundation may contact Craig Holmes at 303-582-3830 or the Gilpin County School at 303-582-3444.

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