Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 28
Hobnobbing With Helen
BY HELEN ANN THOMAS
This was not your run-of-the-mill golf tournament fundraiser.
The annual Shoes for Students Golf Tournament prides itself on being offbeat. The 12th annual tournament, held Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Santa Maria Country Club, attracts participants mostly (but not exclusively) from the local community of Realtors and makes no bones about that fact that it’s OK to be silly.
The sold-out event was colorful. Costumed hosts and color-coordinated golfers presented a visual delight. Four golfers, in identical yellow shirts and straw hats, called themselves “The Buzz Brothers.” Or, wait, was it “The Killer Bee Team?”
“We sting,” explained Rick Hamm, a former Santa Maria resident who flew in from Midland, Texas, to be with his buddies. They also all wore identical yellow knee-high socks emblazoned with the word “Beer.”
“Last year we came as the Four Stooges,” Hamm told me.
“We don’t plan to win,” he added with a mischievous smile, “but we’re going to have more fun than anybody.”
Turns out those yellow shirts attract green. One of the four won the 50-50 Raffle. Well, that was fun.
The 13th Hole was the lucky hole (and a watering hole) for a Prudential sales team that included Martha Becker, Deby Flynn, Betty Janes, Julie Walker, and their guest, Lompocan Bruce Van der Wilt. Under a blue canopy, at the far end of the golf course, the Prudential-ites enjoyed a magnificent view and primo locale.
Dressed like rock stars, these exuberant real estate folks offered drinks and snacks. Their colorful contribution was “Pink Panties,” a concoction of vodka, beer, and pink lemonade. It sounds semi-disgusting, but is, in reality, refreshing and delicious—guaranteed to make you enjoy your golf game and see the world through rose-colored glasses, even if you aren’t wearing any.
How did all this miraculous (for school kids) mayhem come about? About 13 years ago, Kate Ferguson approached some friends and asked, "What do you think about us raising some money to buy shoes for kids who don't have them?”
They approached the receptive Santa Maria Association of Realtors with their idea, and a successful, annual fundraiser was born.
The tournament raises somewhere in the area of $20,000, distributed on an as-needed basis to school administrators who make a request for funds for not only shoes, but also clothing and emergency needs.
“There are no administrative costs,” Ferguson told the crowd at the after-dinner program. “Every cent we raise goes to kids.”
And it goes to them fast. Bob Bush, superintendent of the Orcutt Schools, said that any request made of Shoes for Students is addressed immediately. There’s no waiting period.
Both he and Alan Majewski, principal of Lakeview Junior High, told me heart-wrenching stories about the reactions of kids who were gifted with shoes—sometimes their first new shoes ever—and clothing. Tears and disbelief are not uncommon.
Now about the food. Of course, there was a tri-tip sandwich lunch. Before dinner (raspberry walnut salad, chicken saltimbocca, wild rice pilaf, and cake), golfers and guests enjoyed a complimentary Happy Hour with great wine from Costa de Oro, Riverbench, and Tolosa.
John Glines headed up the lively live auction. Raffle tickets were sold for the traditional 50-50 raffle and $2,000 worth of gasoline.
If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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