Big Lake prepares for fourth annual benefit golf event
Members of the Mississippi County Community College Foundation/Big Lake Scholarship Golf Tournament Committee met on Tuesday, March 26, to plan this year's event.
Currently, the tournament is scheduled for Monday, May 20, at the Big Lake Country Club in Manila. Tee-off time for the three-person scramble is 8:30 a.m., and committee members noted that they would add an afternoon flight if the number of participants increased enough to justify adding one.
According to Rachel Gifford, Mississippi County Community College director of development, this will be the fourth year of the tournament, which has raised over $10,000 in scholarships for students from the Buffalo Island and Bootheel of Missouri areas since its inception.
"The members of the Big Lake Country Club are kind enough to allow us to use their course at no charge because the funds raised go specifically to students from this area. We certainly appreciate them allowing us to use course, and we always have a great time," Gifford commented.
Gifford also noted that the co-sponsors of the event were instrumental in the planning process, stating that their participation is what makes the tournament so successful.
"We are very fortunate to have the support of our local banks and the Farmers Markets as sponsors. First National Bank, Heritage Bank, MidSouth Bank, and SouthBank have all been a part of this event since the beginning three years ago; and we are very proud to add Farmers Market to our list of tournament sponsors this year," she said.
"While these sponsors are so important to us, so are the many tee-box sponsors we receive each year," stated Gifford who added that the support of local businesses and individuals has been overwhelming. Tee-box sponsorships range from $50 to $150 and, according to Gifford, is the primary source of funds raised for scholarships.
"It's amazing how many people, sponsoring a tee-box, mention to us that they know someone who has attended or is attending MCCC. They're very glad to help us raise scholarships for our students. As a member of the College staff and the Buffalo Island community I am very personally proud of both," Gifford added.
Other members of the tournament planning committee echo Gifford's praise of the community support.
"It's amazing how willing people are to help this cause," stated Mary Jon Ashley of Heritage Bank who also serves on the MCCC Foundation Board of Governors. "We have a wonderful asset in the Mississippi County Community College, and I think people around here recognize that and they're willing to help."
Dick Pace of MidSouth Bank and Dan Robbins of First National Bank serve on the committee and also see lots of support for the tournament.
"Not only is it for a great cause, but the tournament is a lot of fun," said Pace whose MidSouth Bank sponsored two teams in last year's tournament.
"It's a very informal tournament and we have a great time," added Ashley who noted that a sandwich lunch is provided for participants as well as refreshments and a tournament tee shirt.
"It's important for us to raise scholarship funds, but it's equally important for those involved to have a good time," said former MCCC Foundation Chairman Wayne Taylor of Leachville. Although Taylor has retired from the Foundation's active board, he still lends a helping hand for this tournament each year.
"This is something that our (MCCC) Foundation does for students west of Big Lake and in the Bootheel area, so I really want to be a part of that," Taylor said.
"Mr. Taylor is truly a Godsend," said Gifford, "He is a true supporter of MCCC but also of his hometown community. He comes out every year and serves as a hole-watcher for our insurance policy on the hole-in-one chance for $5000."
Like Mr. Taylor, the entire committee is excited about this year's event and hopes to raise even more funds for student scholarships. The tournament is open to all and is $90 per three-person team. Anyone interested in playing can pick-up an entry form from any of the sponsoring banks or by calling Gifford at 870-838-2091.
"We would like for people to sign-up as soon as possible so that we can know whether or not we need to add another flight," said Gifford who also mentioned that anyone interested in sponsoring a tee-box can contact her as well.