Tournament help

Friday, July 3, 2009

The volunteers who pitch in every year to make the Louis J. Lorimier Memorial World-Famous Downtown Golf Tournament and All-You-Can-Eat Catfish Buffet a success can always be counted on to make everything go just the way it should. This year, who knew the Great Weathermaker himself would join the team?

After a scorching week of blistering temperatures and frog-strangling humidity, the weather for Sunday's tournament -- the first-ever fourth annual -- was about as good as it gets at the end of June. For that, everyone involved was truly thankful.

The downtown golf tournament, as most of you know, was just a pipe dream for nearly a decade until Charlie Herbst said let's stop talking about it and do it. In 2006 at the first-ever tournament, about 80 golfers tromped up and down the terraces of the park around the historic Common Pleas Courthouse, through downtown alleys, along the mighty Mississippi and through -- yes, through -- the building that housed the Convention and Visitors Bureau at the time. It was a blast.

In addition to being fun, the tournament each year raises a few hundred dollars for the Red House Interpretive Center's maintenance fund. What a deal: having fun and helping preserve a part of the city's history.

While the downtown tournament is meant to be fun more than anything else -- and it is -- it takes a bit of doing to pull it together. Here are some of the key individuals and groups who make it possible. If I've left anyone out, please let me know.

Port Cape Girardeau, the popular downtown restaurant and bar, is the official caterer for the tournament. It lays out a delicious catfish buffet and provides friendly servers who also do a spic-and-span cleanup afterward.

Howard's Athletic Goods provides trophies for the golfers who bother to keep score.

The Bank of Missouri underwrites the T-shirts emblazoned with the tournament's custom logo.

Horizon Screen Printing does a bang-up job of printing the T-shirts.

The Southeast Missourian provides scads of publicity and tournament entry forms.

The city provides flags for each of the 18 holes on the two downtown courses and a shuttle van to cart folks up and down the hill. And there's a special driver too: Chuck Martin, the director of the CVB.

The A.C. Brase Foundation makes tables and chairs available for the buffet in the shade of Courthouse Park.

Red House volunteers while away the afternoon giving directions to golfers -- and bits of golfing advice based on their careful observations.

Cape Girardeau's town crier, Darryl Morgan, makes quite a splash with his official proclamation that opens the tournament.

Don Greenwood, the official artist for the tournament, designed the logo and artwork for scorecards.

Marla Mills, director of Old Town Cape, was a big help this year at the registration table. Others who pitched in included Eric McGowen, Brenda Schloss, Sam Blackwell, the Parks and Recreation Department, the Cape Girardeau Police Department and Southeast Missouri State University with the New Course on its lovely River Campus grounds.

Special mention goes to John Breaker, inventor of the BirdieBall used in the tournament. He has provided balls and strike pads for the tournaments, and this year he and son Jack came from Colorado for the tournament. They had a blast.

Last, but in no way least, is the coordination and follow-through of Charlie Herbst's efforts to make the tournament as much fun as it is. Charlie's wife and some of their children also lend a hand.

To all of you: Thanks.

jsullivan@semissourian.com;

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