Special Olympics golf tourney Saturday

Published 12:41 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NATCHEZ — If you’re only going to do one fundraiser annually, it’s important that it be a very good one.

Fortunately for the Mississippi Area 7 Special Olympics, their golf tournament always has strong support every year.

This year’s tournament takes place this Saturday at Duncan Park at 8:30 a.m. Ricky Warren, the tournament chairman, said the funds raised at the tournament supports Special Olympics athletes from Adams, Franklin, Jefferson and Wilkinson counties.

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“Our golf tournament has been very successful through the years, and this year we have more teams than ever before,” Warren said.

“In fact, next year, we’re going to have two rounds, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, because the tournament’s getting so big.”

Each team will consist of one Special Olympic athlete and four other golfers, and Warren said many people who take part in the tournament tell him how much they enjoy doing it each year.

“Some of the regular players say it’s the best tournament they play in all year. The team members say it’s the most fun thing they do, getting together with a special kid to play golf,” Warren said.

And the Special Olympics golfers won’t exactly be unprepared when they step on the course this Saturday.

“We’ve had them out there each Saturday the past few weekends doing golf clinics,” Warren said.

“The Harvest Club put on one of those clinics, and James Saunders did the rest. It gets them out there to hit the ball, and teaches them how to play, so they won’t be green come time for the tournament.”

The repeated success of the tournament in raising money for Area 7 is a testimony to the Miss-Lou’s generosity, Warren said.

“Natchez is so generous, and always has been. They know the Special Olympics children don’t get a chance to participate in sports with other children. This allows them to compete not really against others, but against their disability.”

And this year’s tournament won’t just be raising money for local events either.

“We have four regulars and one alternate going to the national competition in Lincoln, Neb., July 17 through 24,” Warren said.

“There are going to be over 3,000 athletes (at nationals), and part of the funds will go towards expenses for them to go up there.”

Warren’s son Chandler is one of three regulars to compete in swimming events this July. Along with him are Jordan Couch and Haley Freeman. Sadie Saunders will compete in Bocce at nationals, and Carl Washington is an alternate for track and field events.

For now, though, Warren said his son is looking forward to getting out on the greens this Saturday.

“Chandler has his own set of golf clubs, and he’s really good at putting. He sank a few putts for his team last year, and he always looks forward to this every year,” Warren said.

For more information, or to make a donation, Warren can be reached at 601-597-4724.