Golfer Boyd Bass registers with Jody Patten before the start of the ninth annual Fairway Face-Off golf tournament last week at the Catamount Ranch & Club. The tournament benefits the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Academic Scholarship Fund and has awarded more than $20,000 to local students. Local charity golf tournament organizers are seeing mixed fundraising results because of the down economy.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Golfer Boyd Bass registers with Jody Patten before the start of the ninth annual Fairway Face-Off golf tournament last week at the Catamount Ranch & Club. The tournament benefits the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Academic Scholarship Fund and has awarded more than $20,000 to local students. Local charity golf tournament organizers are seeing mixed fundraising results because of the down economy.

Shades of green

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— Golf tournament season is in full swing in Steamboat Springs, and many of the local charity drives still are carting in the greenbacks.

Several tournament organizers say they're feeling few negative economic impacts. Some say their events are attracting fewer golfers but strong sponsorships. For others, it's the opposite.

The Board of Realtors opted to move its tournament to September to ease pressure on businesses that could be reeling from a parade of donation-seekers.

For many organizations, the annual golf tournament is the year's biggest fundraiser.

Barbara Robinson helped organize the Youth Education Scholarship tournament last week. A day before the event, she had nearly 100 golfers signed up, compared with about 80 last year. The $135 tournament was Wednesday at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club.

Sponsorships were slightly tougher to find this year, Robinson said.

"It was just a little more challenging, and we certainly appreciate that and are very grateful for those that can help and did help," she said.

The Chamber Resort Association Ambassadors put on the 21st annual event. Proceeds go to scholarships for youths across Routt County.

The tournament still included an array of prizes, such as food from Sheraton Steamboat Resort, beer from B&K Distributing and a car from Steamboat Motors for a hole-in-one contest. Sponsors in the $600 category declined from 36 to 26, and in the $150 category they declined by three, Robinson said.

Still, she was impressed by the increased golfer numbers.

"It's just fantastic how the support comes in," Robinson said.

Numbers dip

Unlike the Y.E.S. venture, the Ski Town USA Golf Classic, the Steamboat Springs Youth Hockey Association and the Know the Signs : Save a Life tournaments are drawing fewer golfers this year.

The Ski Town tournament raises money for the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley. Steamboat's two Rotary clubs help put it on. Organizer Mike Forney said support from the business community had been impressive. The event also includes a silent auction.

"I think that while it looks like we're going to have between 150 and 160 golfers, which is about I think maybe 15 to 20 percent less than we normally would have, the auction event, we have had such tremendous support from local businesses and companies," Forney said.

The two-day tournament costs $495 a golfer, and the events netted about $130,000 for charity last year, he said. This year, money is going to the cardiology unit at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

The hospital "doesn't get any tax monies or that type of thing," Forney said. "It has to be a self-sufficient nonprofit organization, so these fundraisers are very, very important to the viability of our medical care here in the Yampa Valley."

The youth hockey tournament had 48 golfers compared with about 70 in the past, organizer Jody Patten said. But it raised nearly $5,000 from golfers and an auction, and she was pleased with the results.

Sandy Dye's family organizes the Save a Life tournament. The proceeds go to organizations that help prevent youth suicide. Golfer numbers had dropped, she said, but the group is accepting all donations through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation.

"We'll be back next year," Dye said. "Hopefully, the economy will be stronger, and people will be more able to play and to contribute."

High and low

The Hospice Charity Golf Tournament, however, appears to be going strong. The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association runs the hospice program, which the golf tournament supports. The event consists of a dinner Monday at the Sheraton and golf Tuesday at Catamount Ranch Club, VNA spokeswoman Suzi Mariano said.

The hospice tournament allows 24 teams, and it's full, Mariano said.

"We're actually pretty much on par - no pun intended - with what we've done in past years," she said. "So we've had really strong sponsorship this year, and we're really happy about it. People in this community do a really good job of supporting hospice."

Still, others have been cautious. Ulrich Salzgeber, of the Board of Realtors, said his group decided a couple of weeks ago to postpone its tournament. The Realtors moved the event from June to Sept. 16.

"There is just such a congestion of other tournaments in June, and : the economy is not ripe, and the businesses get beat up on a daily basis to donate," Salzgeber said.

He was optimistic that business would get better.

"Hopefully, we'll have a good summer, everyone will be more flush with funds and we'll attempt this again," Salzgeber said.

The Realtors' tournament is at Haymaker, and all proceeds go to scholarships for high school students. This is the tournament's 34th year, he said.

"If we were to cancel it, it would be very detrimental to the kids because the money goes to them throughout the county," Salzgeber said.

Organizers of other upcoming tournaments also remain optimistic.

Linda Danter organizes Steamboat's Rally for the Cure/Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project tournament. Proceeds are split between the organizations, Danter said. The tournament isn't until July 14, but Danter said people were approaching her to ask about it.

"I think we'll have a really good turnout," Danter said.

The event raised $34,000 last year, she said, but she's trying to align her expectations with reality.

"We're not going to have any high goals," Danter said. "We're just going to do the best we can."

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