The Black Press team of Aaron Himelson, left, Sandy Baldwin and Greg Thalheimer line up an easy eagle putt on the par-4 18th hole Saturday. (Kevin Mitchell/Morning Star)

Special Olympics benefits from Kindale golf spectacular

Special Olympics will also benefit from thousands

Dallas Stars amateur scout Dennis Holland brought an autographed jersey. Former Washington Capital Aaron Volpatti and Vernon Vipers captain Jagger Williamson also showed up with some sweet hockey swag.

Toss in free swing lessons from golf pros like Mark Ciupka, Nick Kennedy, Ryan Silverthorn and Mason Lafrance, and the sport caddy auction fetched a few thousand dollars before the fourth annual Vernon Golf Spectacular even started Saturday afternoon.

A total of 29 teams played in the fourth annual charity tournament for the Kindale Developmental Association and Special Olympics BC-Vernon chapter.

The tireless Cindy Masters of Kindale says the extravaganza, presented by Kal Tire, was again well received. Kal Tire announced they will come on board again in 2019.

“We raised $50,000 last year and we were aiming for $60,000 this year,” said Masters. “We don’t like releasing the final total until all the auction items are paid for so we’re keeping our fingers crossed. It was a huge success. The rain really held off so we were very lucky.”

The Nixon Wenger entry of Ryan Irving, Dan Draht, John Clark and Derek Powers won the scramble tourney at 8-under 64 on the plush Vernon Golf & Country Club layout.

The second-place prizes went to the Okanagan Restoration foursome of Brad Maki, David Sturgeon, Kyle Goulet and Rob Jonker. Third went to Kal Tire’s team of Dan Allan, Bob Bennett, Iain Butler and Darrell Spencer.

Vernon Mayor Akbal, who was a celebrity caddy, led his fivesome to victory in the speed hole on the par-4 seventh hole in a scorching 41 seconds.

The Black Press foursome of sales reps Aaron Himelson, Sandy Baldwin, Morning Star sports editor Kevin Mitchell and guest Greg Thalheimer struggled to a 1-under 71.

“We just couldn’t make a putt when we needed one,” said Himelson. “Plus, I know Mitch played high school golf back in the day, but it looked like he learned to play golf by correspondence.”

Bob Bugeaud of Midway drove in to serve as auctioneer for the live auction which saw mega prize packages like a Yukon Adventure, winery, houseboat and golf excursions bring in big money.

There was a surprise twist after dinner when sponsor Rob Ellis urged each table to donate $40 to have Kindale committee director George Doncaster shave the sides of his handlebar moustache.

“We raised $638 thanks to George,” laughed Masters. “His wife Lenny (Peck) and Kari (Greystone) had a tough job taking the sides off with scissors. It’s completely clean now.”

Doncaster, who won a chair in the City Furniture Putting Contest, said he had sported the moustache for about three years.

Guest speaker was Glen Taylor, a Coldstream councillor recovering from serious injuries suffered in an accident last October at O’Keefe Ranch. Moving around the room with a walker, Taylor received a standing ovation for his touching story on recovery.

Kindale, a non-profit, charitable group, has been serving people with diverse abilities in the North Okanagan and Columbia/Shuswap for 59 years. Kindale supports people, their families and caregivers through a variety of programs and services.

Vernon Special Olympics runs 15 different sports programs throughout the year and one youth program specifically for children aged 7-11. Proceeds from the tourney will help cover costs of new equipment and uniforms.

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