It was an action-packed two and a half days for the 2022 Smithers Celebrity Golf Tournament (SCGT) and at the end of it all, a team from Houston walked away with the coveted trophy.
Double A Ventures, a woodlot and timber sales company, along with former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Tommy Greene shot -18 to secure the championship.
The one-day scramble actually ended in a tie with the team from Smithers Lumber Yard, but Double A prevailed on a countback.
Double A owner Andrew Leffers, who played with wife Arlene and sons Ryan and Kevin, said the win was especially sweet because it was a family affair and they really like to support the event, which they have three times now.
“It was fun golfing with family and our celebrity was great to golf with,” he said. “We really enjoy the tournament, it’s a really well-run tournament and it’s for a great cause.”
The company paid $5,000 for Greene, which goes to the selected charities of the year.
The Smithers Lumber Yard team of Harry Hofsink, Curtis Hofsink, Wouter Morkel and Tanya Morkel along with GlobalTV morning news anchor Paul Haysom, who garnered $5,500 at the celebrity auction, settled for second place overall.
In Flight 2, it was the Frontier Chrysler team of tournament emcee and broadcaster Steve Darling with Glenn Bandstra, Willie Vandergaag, Theo Bandstra and Jennifer Sharp, who benefited from a countback. They were tied with a -15 at the end of the day with the Bud Lite team of former NHL player Randy Heath, Aaron Stack, Chris Angus, Curtis Sawchuk and Justin Fillion.
The Flight 3 winner actually outpaced the second flight.
Hometown favourite and Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion curler Rachelle Brown and her Aqua North Plumbing team of Tyler Pederson, Lee Twigge, Darcy Pederson and Dwayne Ross rallied to a -16 to take the flight.
The weekend’s festivities kicked off Thursday evening (Aug. 11) with a record-breaking celebrity auction at Boston Pizza.
When the bidding was finished, 36 celebrities brought in $94,300 for charity with three of the guests garnering $5,500 for top bids of the night.
Hometown favourite Dan Hamhuis, former Vancouver Canuck Cliff Ronning and GlobalTV news anchor Paul Haysom commanded the big bucks, purchased by Goodfellas Construction, Bandstra Transportation and Smithers Lumber Yard respectively.
In 2019, the auction raised $60,000 with former Miss USA contestant (Miss Missouri) Katie Kearney garnering the highest bid at $4,100.
Musician and SCGT defending champion Danielle Marie also commanded $2,500 and will play with LB Paving. The last time the tournament was held in 2019, Marie and her Bulkley Valley Financial Services team sizzled into the winners circle with a blistering 20-under-par total 52 on the Par-72 course.
Beneficiaries of the 2022 tournament are the Bulkley Valley Health Foundation and Bulkley Valley Youth Sport Foundation.
Kent Delwisch, the lead organizer of the event said it was very successful and was grateful to all the sponsors, celebrities, volunteers and suppliers.
“It’s a lot of work and, to be honest, our crew is worn out,” he said. “The thing that keeps us going is the incredible response and appreciation that is shown when everything is wrapping up. We not only get to make a significant donation to two incredibly deserving charities, we make a number of lifelong friends who promote Smithers like it’s a second home to them. We’ve had so many returning celebrities who tell us how much they enjoy returning to the Bulkley Valley.”
He credited Smithereen and two-time Stanley Cup champion Joe Watson, as the driving force.
“Joe Watson was also pivotal in bringing some new faces to the tournament, as well as, organizing some incredible auction packages including week-long passes for four to the PGA Championship in New York,” Delwisch said.
“Joe has been the push behind this tournament since its inception in 1991 and continues 31 years later.
This year, organizers combined the golf with an exhibition hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks Alumni and Smithers Celebrities. In the past, the game has been played as a separate event in the winter, but coming off the cancellation of the golf tournament in 2021, they wanted to do it up extra big this year, Delwisch said.
The Smithers team, which had never won the game in 17 years, looked to be in full control leading by 5-2 by the end of the second period. The Canucks roared back with two goals early in the third, however, to cut the lead to 5-4.
But Todd Talbot, of Love It or List It Vancouver fame and co-emcee for the weekend, brought the gap back up to two on a pass from fellow emcee Darling.
The Canucks were not down and out, however. With their goalie pulled, six attackers scrambled to bring the difference back to one with 12 seconds on the clock.
In the waning seconds, still with six skaters on the ice, they pressed hard for the equalizer, but it was too little too late.
A post-game party for sponsors and celebrities at the Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge featured entertainment by Cross Parallel (Danielle Marie and husband Jordan Pritchett) and Juno Award nominee pop-punk band Faber Drive, for whom Pritchett also plays guitar.
It will be some time before the final tally for all the fundraising activities are finalized, but by all indications, it has been a wildly successful year for the SCGT.
“We are awaiting invoices from all of our suppliers in order to confirm the final fundraising number, but I think it’s safe to say we have exceeded expectations,” Delwisch said.
In 2019, the tournament donated $125,000 to the health foundation and the Smithers Community Cancer Care Team.