ELKIN — More than $20,000 was raised for Special Olympics at an annual golf tournament last week.
One player in last Thursday’s annual Gary Scearce Memorial Special Olympics Golf Tournament even walked away with a brand new John Deere Gator.
The tournament, which was held at Cedarbrook Country Club in Elkin, was the third of its kind, and according to Surry County Parks and Recreation employee Chrystal Whitt, all funds go directly toward providing a positive Special Olympics experience to Surry County athletes.
Whitt said money is needed for things such as uniforms, transportation and renting practice facilities.
She said 32 teams were split between a morning and an afternoon round of golf. Prizes for winning teams ranged from free rounds of golf to gift certificates at local restaurants such as Chase and Charli in Mount Airy.
Five teams of Special Olympics golfers got the opportunity to play alongside local officials such as County Manager Chris Knopf, Dobson Town Manager Josh Smith and Sheriff Graham Atkinson. PVH Corporation, Dr. William Handy and Hardy Brothers Trucking sponsored the Special Olympics athletes.
Special Olympics athlete Ryan Matthews even led his team of four to a second-place finish in the afternoon round of golf.
According to Whitt a number of other local businesses donated money and other items to the tournament, and students from Surry Central High School volunteered at the event.
While the real winners at the tournament were the Special Olympics athletes, Matthew Cave had a pretty good day. While playing on a team from Omega Builders, Cave aced #13, a par-3 hole that measures 174 yards from the white tees.
Cave’s hole-in-one earned him a new John Deere 845 Gator, which was donated by James River Equipment.
Whitt said the tournament is fondly named after the late Surry County Commissioner Gary Scearce, who Whitt said was an “avid supporter of Special Olympics.” She said the tournament has grown since its inception in 2013, and she expects it to continue to grow in forthcoming years.
“We have seen this grow. In 2013, we raised $12,000,” said Whitt. “There is a passion for helping Special Olympics in this county.”
Andy Winemiller is a staff writer at The News and can be reached at 415-4698.