Classic tees off for a good cause

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For the past seven years, the Ski Town USA Classic has been one of the biggest golf tournaments of the summer.

But the event is about a lot more than golf.

This year, the members of the Steamboat Dream Team and Steamboat Rotary Club have teamed up to make the event possible.

The tournament supports Yampa Valley Medical Center's Clinical Education Scholarship Fund, the Boardwalk at Rotary Park and the continuation of the Doak Walker Memorial Endowment Scholarship fund.

Bonnie Boylan, who works for the Heath Care Foundation for Yampa Valley Medical Center, said she has been thinking about this tournament and auction for the past year and ironing out the thousands of details that go into making it run smoothly for at least six months.

"There are so many people who have worked hard to make this possible," Boylan said. "It takes a lot of people to make an event like this happen."

With title sponsors Pepsi/Aquafina, Coors Light and Sidney Peak Ranch, this year's event has gotten a lot of outside support. Hundreds of businesses have donated money and merchandise for the auction.

Boylan said Friday night's auction at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel is the moneymaker for the weekend, but the attraction is definitely the chance to play golf at some of Steamboat's finest golf courses.

This year, a field of 180 players will tee off on the courses at the Catamount Ranch & Club and the Sheraton Steamboat Resort. Half the field will play 18 holes at the Sheraton on Friday while the other half plays at Catamount. On Saturday, the two groups will swap courses for the final round.

Teams of four players will compete in a 1-2-3 net best ball format. They also will have the chance to win top prizes in 12 side games as they play.

This year any player scoring a hole-in-one on No. 5 at the Sheraton or No. 8 or No. 17 at Catamount will win a vehicle. Any player lucky enough to score a hole-in-one on No. 17 at the Sheraton or No. 4 at Catamount will win $20,000 from First National Bank. The prize on hole No. 15 at the Sheraton is a Hot Springs Spa.

Friday evening the action will move off the golf course for a huge charity auction planned for 6:30 p.m. at the Steamboat Grand.

"We have some crazy good items for this year's auction," Boylan said. "The auction is really the highlight event."

Top bidders will have a chance to pick up trips to Alaska, Mexico or a Wind Jammer cruise.

Also available are golf trips to Arizona, Florida and Las Vegas. The sports fan will have a chance to buy a corporate suite to an Avalanche game next season or a suite to the Game of Fame (a flag football game featuring John Elway and Joe Montana, as well as many other former professionals). There also will be a bottle of Courvoisier cognac valued at $2,500 up for bid.

But the items at the auction are not limited to just those with deep pockets. The auction will feature a wide range of packages that will go for a wide range of prices, Boylan said.

"It's not all high-end stuff," Boylan said. "There will be all sorts of packages that just about anyone can bid on."

Boylan said tickets for the auction are available. Anyone interested in attending the auction can call Boylan at 871-2501 or purchase a ticket at the door for $45.

Boylan said the tournament has been held on Rainbow Weekend for the past two years, and it seems to be a good combination.

Players should enjoy the colorful scene Saturday as balloons launch high into the Yampa Valley sky as part of the annual celebration. Boylan said many of the golfers spend their afternoons at Art in the Park.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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