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Golfing for a cause

Jeff Bergstrom got his must-have mountain condominium accessory — a mounted deer head — a little differently than others.

He bid on it.

“Not being a hunter, I wasn’t going to get one myself,” the Denver-area lawyer said.

Bergstrom’s successful bid came during the Ski Town USA Benefit Auction held during the opening day of the Ski Town USA Golf Classic.

Bergstrom and playing partner Rick Lesch have participated in the past seven Ski Town Classic tournaments. He is looking forward to his eighth.

The Ski Town USA Golf Classic and Benefit Auction is a charity event for the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley and the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club.

“Here is a golf tournament — and I like to play golf — that benefits the hospital,” Bergstrom said. “Every year, it has gotten bigger and better. My partner in my law office and I (will) have both played it eight years. We at least plan on that weekend in Steamboat. We mark that weekend off the calendar. We’ll come up and play Wednesday and Thursday and then play in the tournament. We’ll stay Saturday night and come back to reality Sunday.”

Bergstrom plans to bring his family — and his checkbook — for this year’s auction.

“We have gotten lots for our condo,” he said.

Two hundred golfers will play the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Catamount Ranch & Club golf courses July 8 and 9. The tournament, organized in a four-person, 1-2-3 net best-ball format, begins with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. Players use the best drive on each hole and continue play from that point. They track their individual scores and play with the same group each day.

“This tournament, in the past and today, continues to provide both locals and people from out of town the unique opportunity to play two courses that are difficult to get on,” said Steve Dawes, an avid golfer and president of the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley. “You get the camaraderie of friends, business associates and neighbors combined with the courses in a back-to-back format that’s a little different than other tournaments in this town.”

Golfers pay $450 to $475 to participate in the tournament. The admissions price includes a cocktail party and tickets to the auction, which is at 6:30 p.m. July 8 in the Priest Creek Ballroom at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

Jim Swiggart will be the auctioneer. Auction tickets for non-golfers are $45 and will be available at the door.

Sponsors and residents have donated more than $100,000 in auction items, including trips to the 2006 Olympics in Italy, the Super Bowl, the Bahamas, Cozumel and Beverly Hills, Calif. Other items include jewelry, artwork, spa treatments, adventure getaways and John Elway autographed memorabilia.

More than 80 volunteers with the Rotary Club, Dream Team, Yampa Valley Medical Center and the Healthcare Foundation of the Yampa Valley work to make the events happen.

The Ski Town USA Golf Classic and Benefit Auction has raised more than $750,000 for the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club, the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley and their beneficiaries in previous years.

“It really is a super fun tournament,” said Bonnie Bunker of the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley. “We emphasize fun, and many of our players come out to have fun. A majority is playing because it’s a charity event.”