After six years of being a grassroots, backyard golf tournament, the organizers of the Investors Group BIRT Cup are trying to make it a unique celebrity charity golf tournament for the Westman area.
Scott Hlady, the BIRT Cup president, is hoping it can follow in the success of the Sly Open and the Heavy Open, only this time as a fundraiser for the Ashley Neufeld Softball Complex.
Instead of having a large group of friends play the Shilo Country Club and then come to his house and garage for a meal, Hlady has found a group of sponsors for the event and is bringing in celebrities. Each group will be assigned one celebrity who they will play their round with.
Celebrities will range from hockey players like Aaron Rome and Travis Hamonic to golfers, comedians, members of the media, Olympic medallists and Kristen Fleury, the head coach of Dickinson State’s softball team.
After never raising more than $600 in its previous six years, Hlady is hoping to raise between $3,000 and $5,000, although his focus is on participants having an enjoyable time on the course and in the banquet instead of the bottom line.
"Our goal isn’t to dip into people’s pockets, it’s to give them a good time for what they paid and at the banquet or as a business or a sports fanatic, we’ll give you an opportunity to bid on some items and win some items," he said. "It really depends on how much people want to help the charity out and how hard we work to make things available for them."
The golf tournament is one of Hlady’s attempts to give back to the community that he feels he took so much from as a baseball and hockey player.
He even named the tournament after one of his mentors, Neil Andrews.
While coaching one of Hlady’s beaver baseball teams, Andrews came up with the acronym BIRT, which stands for basics, intensity, respect and team, as a term his players could use for focus and to avoid cursing on the field.
Although this year’s bigger event hasn’t started yet, it’s already proving to be popular. There is space for 100 golfers, and the new sponsors have locked up the majority of those spots.
"Three weeks ago when we had our first meeting at Blü and three days later we were three-quarters sold out with sponsorship," he said. "The tournament will sell itself and we guarantee people will have a good time and we hope to raise a lot of money for our charity."
The registration fee is $125 and also covers three meals. People can get more information about the event by contacting Hlady at firstname.lastname@example.org.