Golfer Jeff Bergstrom's most memorable year at the Ski Town USA Golf Classic was like a scene from the movie "Caddyshack."
"It was like that one scene where the priest was putting in the storm and no matter what, the ball went in," Bergstrom said. "It was one of those days where you hardly had to look and every putt went in. We still talk about it six years later."
Thursday, July 6 All Day -- Complimentary range access at both courses; check in at pro shop 5 to 9 p.m. --OWBOY UP! registration and check-in cocktail party at Wolf Run Ranch featuring live country music, Stetson cowboy hat fitting and country barbecue Friday, July 7 7 a.m. -- Registration at golf courses 7 a.m. -- Continental breakfast 8 a.m. -- Shotgun start; on-course lunch provided 6:30 p.m. -- Benefit auction and cocktail party at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Grand Ballroom; tickets are $45 and are available from Rotary Club members, the Healthcare Foundation and at the door. Saturday, July 8 7 a.m. -- Continental breakfast 8 a.m. --hotgun start 1 p.m. --arbecue lunch at Catamount Golf Clubhouse 3 p.m. --wards presentation at Catamount Golf Clubhouse Call 871-0700 for more information
Bergstrom has played in each of the past eight Ski Town USA Golf Classics.
This year, the fundraising tournament will surpass the $1 million mark. The proceeds benefit the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley and the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club.
"In a small town like this, $1 million dollars goes a long way," said Bonnie Bunker, fundraiser for the Healthcare Foundation. "A lot of people have been affected by this over the years."
The Healthcare Foundation supports the Yampa Valley Medical Center and a variety of community health programs. The Rotary Club offers scholarships and grants to individuals and organizations for programs and projects that primarily benefit the youths and seniors of Steamboat Springs.
The two-day tournament will involve 216 golfers who play one round at the Sheraton Steamboat Golf Club and another round at Catamount Ranch & Club. They will play in a 4-person, 1-2-3 net, best-ball tournament format.
Events for the Golf Classic include a registration and check-in cocktail party with live music and a country barbecue at Wolf Run Ranch, breakfast and lunch provided during the tournament, an awards presentation and a benefit auction and cocktail party in the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Grand Ballroom.
"That's the place where the tournament makes its money," Bunker said. "It is open to the golfers and their guests and the public. We expect about 500 auction guests and hope to make $100,000 that night."
Auction items this year include a VIP package to the Super Bowl and Indianapolis 500 and suites at Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Nuggets and Denver Broncos games. Package trip destinations include the Cayman Islands, Cozumel and Panama.
Golfer Rick Lesch's wife purchased Denver Broncos Terrell Davis's autographed jersey at the benefit auction one year.
"Now it's hanging up in my son's sports basement," Lesch said. "Many of the things we get in the auction hang in his basement. We almost always buy some sports-related item."
Lesch and his family have used the Golf Classic as a mini vacation for the past eight years. Attending the tournament provides them a great opportunity to visit Steamboat.
"Over the years, I've taken different members of my family, and we always go up a day early," Lesch said.
He also comes for the superior golf accommodations.
"Golf up in the mountains is a different golf experience," Lesch said. "You see deer (on) three out of the 25 holes, and there's lots of hawks and big birds."
Lesch also enjoys the team scramble format.
"Most of the time, when you are playing golf, it is just you," he said. "But in this team event, you are rooting for each other. That's why charity events are so successful. Instead of being against the guys you are playing with, there is much more camaraderie."
Bergstrom, Lesch's law firm partner, said there is some friendly competition.
"There is a little competition, which is nice, but we're there to have fun and raise money, so it is a charitable, fun group to be around," he said.
Bergstrom had a hard time choosing just one reason why he participates in the Golf Classic every year.
"It's really just the entire combination of the town, the wonderful golf courses, the wonderful evening events, a wonderful charity, and it's wonderful that it is thrown during the balloon festival and Art in the Park. It's the entire combination, but just one of those parts is good enough to get you up there," he said. "The only thing that would make it better would be if it snowed about four feet after we were done. Then we could take a (ski) run afterwards."