Celebrities hitting links for final SPCA charity golf tournament

Matt Gardner
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A long-term fundraising initiative for the Prince Albert SPCA will draw to a close next week with the fifth and final Fore For Pets Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Pat Savoie strokes a putt at Cooke Municipal Golf Course during last year’s SPCA Fore For Pets Celebrity Golf Tournament. This year’s fundraiser -- the fifth and last of the annual charity tournaments -- will take place on Wednesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 17.

Organizers always intended to run the annual event -- which helps raise money for the new SCPA shelter -- for five years, tournament chairperson Loren Sproat said.

Aside from the fact that the building itself is effectively complete, Sproat argued that there is often a certain time limit for charitable initiatives.

“Events that are associated with charity, I think some of them have an end life on them … Five years, people are prepared to commit to this, and that’s just how we designed it when we went into it,” he said.

The last Fore For Pets tournament in Prince Albert will take place on Wednesday, July 16 and Thursday, July 17. The golf itself is set for the Thursday, with the previous evening devoted to a celebrity banquet at the Prince Albert Inn.

As in previous years, tournament organizers have a target of raising $100,000. Funds are raised through a $2,000 registration fee for the 36 teams (or $2,500 for a team with advertising) along with assorted donations.

Sproat estimated that in the past four years, the tournament had raised approximately $375,000 for the SPCA building, which has an estimated cost of $3.2 million in total.

“Every nickel that you raise goes to the building fund and helps pay the new build off,” he noted.

Along with residents of Prince Albert, the four-person teams competing in the tournament include representatives of Saskatoon and Regina.

In terms of gameplay, the 2014 tournament will revert to its original format.

“What we’ve done is we've gone back to the system that we did the first couple years … We put a celebrity on every hole, so we have them there visiting with the team,” Sproat said. “So if you come up with your team and that to the tee box, the celebrity’s there and it gives you an opportunity to visit all the celebrities.”

Every nickel that you raise goes to the building fund. Loren Sproat

As in previous years, this year’s lineup of celebrity participants includes representatives from a wide variety of fields, many of whom have previously taken part.

Athletes are a major contingent. Among the sportsmen and women taking part in this year’s tournament are skeleton athletes Amy Gough and Michelle Kelly, former Saskatchewan Roughriders Andrew Green and Luc Mullinder, long drive golfer Geoff Freeborn, pro golfer Kent Fukushima and tour golf pro Stuart Anderson (with the latter also hosting a Junior Golf Day at Cooke).

Entertainment is another significant source of participants. Actors Yvon Barrette, Kristen Renton, Martin Klebba, Justin Rain (who was raised in Prince Albert) and Kathy Garver will be joined by actor and TV personality Dane Andrew and his dog Rascal as well as film and TV writer, director, cartoonist and voice actor Dave Shelton.

With country music artist Charlie Major set to appear, musicians will not be absent -- nor will comedians, in the form of local funnyman Kelly Taylor.

Current and former models will also be on hand. Along with from model, actress and TV personality Rachelle Leah and Miss Canada International Alyssa MacLeod, two Playboy playmates, Jessica Canizales and Elle Patille, are scheduled to appear.

Two team slots remain open at the event. Anyone interested in registering should contact Debbie Lehner at the Prince Albert SPCA.

Organizations: Prince Albert Inn, Cooke

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Regina, Saskatchewan

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