Celebrity golf tournament back again

Published 12:39 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NATCHEZ — Lee Moore said he doesn’t have too much trouble getting celebrities to show up for the annual Celebrity Player’s Tour golf tournament.

The director for the tournament said the cause the event is raising money for, combined with the location, make it an attractive destination for celebrity golfers.

Beau Pré Country Club will host the celebrity golf tournament Nov. 4 and 5. Proceeds will benefit the Natchez Children’s Home Services, which is dedicated to caring for orphaned, abused and neglected children.

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“A lot of these players have children of their own, so they understand they’re coming to help children not as fortunate as their own,” Moore said.

“Also, a lot of them are from small towns, so they can really relate. Natchez is a neat town with so much history associated with it. It’s not as big as Las Vegas or San Diego, but it has a unique charm that’s easy to sell once they’ve been there.”

Moore also said the people of Natchez are a big reason celebrities keep wanting to come back each year.

“It’s an opportunity to see a part of the country they haven’t been to before. They enjoy meeting the local people and rubbing elbows,” he said.

The tournament will feature several familiar faces. Major League Baseball umpire Joe West will attend, as well as Kelly Edge, who hosts HGTV’s “Decorating Cents.”

A few new players will be added to the mix as well. Ray Perkins, who coached in the NFL for the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and also in college football at the University of Alabama, will make an appearance. In addition, former Mississippi State and Houston Oilers running back Hoyle Granger will compete.

Joe Mitchell, director of development for the Natchez Children’s Home Service, said the tournament doesn’t just provide a means for the organization to make money.

“It also creates an awareness for what we do, which is provide children with safety,” Mitchell said.

“Most of these children have been neglected, abused, abandoned and violated by the very people that are supposed to protect them, their parents.”

Meeting the children is something the celebrities make a point of doing while they’re in town, Mitchell said.

“They always insist every time they visit. Also, none of them charge anything for appearing,” he said.

“Most charities have to pay an appearance fee, but they never ask us to. We do offer to play for their travel expenses, but most of them never submit an invoice.”

The generosity of local organizations in donating is also a big key to the operation, Moore said.

“We have a lot of sponsors in (the Natchez) community that have stepped up to make all this possible. Tom Bryant at (Beau Pré) has been great to work with, and we really appreciate everyone,” Moore said.

Mitchell said slots are still open with the tournament. For more information, he can be reached at 601-442-7722.