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Celebrity golf tournament growing in popularity

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As fund-raisers go, the Grand Plains Celebrity Classic is quickly proving to be a popular event among golfers.
The four-person scramble tournament featured 180 golfers hitting the links at the Gilbert Plains Country Club (GPCC), including nine celebrities on which teams could bid to join them for the tournament.
In the end, the team of Gene Turk, Billy Turk, Scott McCallum and Chad Facey won the tournament, with a 16-under 55. In second place, one shot behind, was the foursome of Connor Shaw, Riese Gaber, Braden Clement and Christian Laughland. Shaw had the highlight of the tournament, recording an albatross for his team on no. 6.
Closest-to-the-hole winners were Michael Procyk on no. 4, Ryan Pulock on no. 9, Vern Ellis on no. 14 and Dan Lehmann on no. 17.
Pulock of the New York Islanders was one of the nine celebrities participating in the tournament, along with Colby Robak of the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat, the voice of the Winnipeg Jets on TSN Dennis Beyak, world curling champion Jeff Stoughton, Josh Crabb of CTV Winnipeg, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun, Florida Panthers draft pick Jayce Hawryluk of the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds, former NHLer Ron Low and Cody McLeod of the New York Rangers.
The tournament is a fund-raiser for Grand Plains minor hockey and the GPCC.
McCallum, GPCC general manager, was flabbergasted at the support the third annual tournament received this year.
“Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say. The people that come out to support the golf course and support minor hockey in Gilbert Plains is just sensational. Everybody using all the contacts they have to bring the celebrities to this area to make this such a special event,” he said.
“Huge hats off to Colby Robak and Ryan Pulock. When me and Ashley Shaw sat down and said this is something that we were going to do, we knew we were going to rely heavily on the local talent. And for those guys to come through every year is really something special. And it shows how much they care about the roots of where they came from. It shows how grounded as people they are and that’s why they’re professionals.”
While obviously pleased to see so many people register for the tournament, McCallum questions whether 180 golfers is feasible for future tournaments.
“I don’t know whether we want 180 golfers next year. One hundred and eighty is, obviously terrific. I don’t know how we pulled it off. Our members in Gilbert Plains are just absolutely sensational with being so open to lending carts for tournaments and understanding that the proceeds that goes from those carts always helps the club,” he said.
“Huge hats off to all the members from Gilbert Plains, because without them Gilbert Plains could host tournaments of 60 or 70. Being a small club, we can’t afford to bring carts in. It’s too expensive. So without the members lending the carts, tournaments like this just wouldn’t happen.”
McCallum also credits the celebrities for taking the time to be part of an event such as this, knowing they understand that interacting with people is always a good thing and creates more fans.
“They understand that just being a good citizen is part of being a good professional. And, man, all the people that come to our tournament are certainly those type,” he added.
And because most of the celebrities involved in the tournament have a connection to the Parkland, they also understand how important an event such as this is to small communities like Gilbert Plains. McCallum hopes to be able to reach out beyond Gilbert Plains and help out more organizations.
“I hope that this is a tournament that’s going to grow. I hope this is a tournament that’s going to gain steam. We certainly have some young NHLers from Gilbert Plains that are going to make more friends in the hockey world and, one of these times, it’s going to be a big name that comes to Gilbert Plains and this tournament is probably going to fly off the rocks,” he said.
Pulock said it is nice to give back to Grand Plains minor hockey, as well as the golf course.
“It’s always a good time. People are out here having fun and it’s another beautiful day for it,” he said.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger and it’s almost maxed out now. But it’s nice to see that it’s been successful over those years and gives them a chance to continue to put it on, because I think people enjoy it and it’s a good time. It’s great to see.”

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER
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