A 2019 Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament (SCGT) champion has been crowned, but the real winners are the residents of the Bulkley Valley.
The bi-annual event, which featured a diverse group of 35 celebrities, raised an estimated $100,000 for the Bulkley Valley Hospital Foundation and the Smithers Community Cancer Care Team, said Kent Delwisch, the lead organizer of the tournament.
“It was great,” he said. “We got lots of positive feedback, so I guess we have to count that as a win.”
The final tally will not be available for a couple of weeks when all the accounting is done, but after expenses, it should be in the $100,000 range.
On the golf side of things, musician Danielle Marie (King) and her team from Bulkley Valley Financial Services (BVFS) — Tim Veenstra, Joel Veenstra, Sean Carey, Don Sutton and Ted Veenstra — came out on top at with a score of 20-under-par.
It’s my first time in Smithers and my first time playing a celebrity golf tournament, or any golf tournament for that matter,” Danielle Marie said.
“It feels pretty good; I got lucky with a pretty awesome group of guys who teed me up every shot and gave me some awesome pointers, so I learnt a lot.”
She said she had a great time all weekend.
“It was amazing and I hope that, in a couple of years, I’ll be back to do it again.”
As overall winner, Danielle Marie also won the A-flight.
The BVFS team narrowly beat out another SCGT first-timer, 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts curling champion Chelsea Carey and her Castle Building Centre team. Carey had it to 19-under through 16 holes, but finished up on the long and tough Par-4 fifth and sixth holes with two pars.
Carey said accepting an invitation to Smithers for the tournament was a no-brainer.
“This stuff is so easy to say yes to because it’s all for such a great cause and all we’re doing is donating our time and, honestly, we’re just having a blast,” she said.
In the B-Flight curler Dana Ferguson, who curls second for Carey’s Alberta rink, and her Sullivan Motor Products team —John Sullivan, Ian Smith, Glen Kelly and Darren Grange — won with a score of -16.
John Morris, two-time Olympic curling gold medalist and his Hoskins Ford crew — Mark Williams, Dianne Williams, Dan Peterson and Shauna Peterson took the C-flight at -12.
On Friday, Steve Darling and Team Frontier Chrysler won the nine-hole Par-3 contest.
Darling, who serves as the perennial emcee of the SCGT is a City of Port Coquitlam councillor, business broadcast journalist and Vancouver Canucks Autism Network ambassador. He said he is always impressed with the event.
“The first year I came here, I can tell you the amount of community support it gets and the amount of people who organize it and how well-organized it is, is the reason it’s had so much success,” he said.
“When they invite me back every year, it’s an instant ‘yes’ right off the bat because I love the way the community gets to together to provide help for something that’s really needed, and that’s obviously stuff within the hospital.”
Two years ago, the tournament was a major contributor to the CT scanner project, which came to fruition July 9 when the new scanner went into service at the Bulkley Valley District Hospital.
Elena Raykov is the operating room manager at the hospital and volunteered as a score-keeper at the second hole Saturday. She said the scanner has already been a boon to the community as will new surgical equipment, which is what some of the proceeds this year will go toward.
“The fact that the community wants to help out and raise money for our work means a lot,” she said. “We do try and bring more services closer to home, that’s our goal, so because of a tournament like this one and the support of the BV [Health] Foundation we’ve been able to do great things in the community.”
On Thursday night at the celebrity auction, during which the teams bid on which celebrity they will get to play with, Katie Kearney, a former Miss USA contestant from Missouri and Instagram model fetched the highest bid at $4,100 from the Vihar Construction 2 team of Ryan Klaver, Gary Olson, Conan Petuerson and Danny Johnson.
She said it was gratifying to be able to raise so much cash.
“That was so, so cool, I was not expecting that… I was just really excited to be a part of that and be able to help contribute,” she said.
Another first-timer to Smithers, she said the experience will be a memorable one.
“This is actually my first time to Canada, so Smithers is my first and only Canadian experience and everybody has lived up to the expectations,” she said. “Everyone is so nice and welcoming and I can’t believe I’m here, it’s really fun.”