Setting records with golf tournament

Organizer Darren Pritchard. Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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This year’s Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament was bigger than ever before, and organizer Darren Pritchard said although they don’t have final numbers ready yet, they were pleased with the results.
“It exceeded last year for sure,” he said of the July 6 tournament at the Carman Golf Club. “We’re over $50,000 raised, we had 208 golfers… it turned out really well.”
Some changes were made this year. Pritchard said they moved supper and evening activities to the community hall, which allowed them to have an additional 40-45 people come for supper.
The tournament is held annually to honour the life of Mike Pritchard who died of Cancer in June 1998.
It began in Fairview, Alberta after three people that were attending the Fairview Turfgrass College died of cancer in the same year.
The three were from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and initially the provinces took turns hosting the tournament. Initially the funds were raised for a scholarship at the college. When the college let it go, people from the community of Roland took over. But over time, they too decided to let it go.
“We said, we’re not going to let this run out,” Pritchard said. “We moved it to Carman in 2013. This is our seventh year at the Carman Golf Course.”
Since moving (and including an estimated $50,000 raised for this year) the tournament has raised close to $220,000.
Pritchard said because of the connections he and his brother Al (a member of the Winnipeg Jets training staff) has, they’ve managed to get some great prizes.
“The prizes we have is what keeps people coming back,” he said. “We have so many Jets things, hockey prizes, Delta Airlines, WestJet, lawnmowers, weedeaters, chainsaws… we’ve taken it to a whole new level with prizes.”
The success of the tournament also helps bring in more donated prizes.
“More and more people want to get on board and donate,” he said. “It’s just growing and getting bigger.”
Pritchard said many of the golfers now look at this as a complete weekend, come out and camp and take part in all the festivities.
“I heard from a few different people this is the weekend they look forward to all summer,” he said. “When someone says that to you, you’re obviously doing something right.”
They’ve also added fun activities on the course, including one contest that started last year. That involved participants putting on hockey gloves and using a hockey stick to putt.
They also had food on the golf course thanks to donations of pizza from Big Willy’s, chicken from Chicken Chef, ice cream from Syl’s and smokies.
Three charities will benefit from this year’s event including South Central Cancer Resource, Carman and Area Foundation, and Cancer Care Manitoba (for use in rural Manitoba).
While causes like the local foundation are important (Pritchard said they’ve given almost $100,000 to the Carman and Area Foundation over the years) he said they want to direct as much money as they can to the cancer fight.
“It seems like every few months you hear about someone else dying of cancer,” he said. “Really we want to try to get this money back in the hands of people that have cancer because that’s where it can be the most help.”
Pritchard said organizers appreciate the support.
“It’s overwhelming, the money, the donations, the prizes… and the people keep coming out,” he said.

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Organizer Darren Pritchard. Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

Ryan Matthews, Tyler Jeanson, Ron Parent, Paul Briesbois, Jeff Jeanson, Darren Pritchard, Kevin Jeanson, Mike McAulay, Al Claydon, Dean Ducharme. Mike Pritchard Memorial Golf Tournament, July 6, Carman Golf Club. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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