Jewel of the North shines

There was a sense of excitement as you weaved back and forth down the road leading from Thickwood Boulevard, down Real Martin Drive to the Fort McMurray Golf Club. Beautiful signs highlighting some of the record number of 73 sponsors were beautifully pitched off on the right side of the road providing a warm welcome and setting the tone for what would be a memorable day of golf.

Apart from the first-class branding elements, there are many things about the annual Keyano College Foundation fundraising tournament in Wood Buffalo that make it special. From the moment you arrive and Huskies athletes grab your clubs and take them out to your cart, to the activities that are peppered throughout the course, the Jewel of the North First North Catering Golf Classic offered an unforgettable experience.

The tournament featured two shotgun starts, morning and afternoon, and a full slate of 248 linksters. The event attracted a broad mix of players, some graciously competitive and others just wanting to be part of the fun. They all enjoyed the various College departments and sponsors who added their unique sizzle to the 18-hole trip through the lush, green and comfortably crisp course set in the Athabasca River valley.

“People were really great about sharing their ‘Someday I will be…’ ideas,” said Renee Summers, Marketing Manager, who was on the 8th hole for the afternoon round.

“There were a lot of great responses-some funny, some serious-but the one that kept us laughing the longest was the guy who said that someday he would be Brittany Spears.”

Throughout the day, we spied chocolates wrapped in the Keyano Theatre Company’s 2011-2012 season sitting on the dashes of the golf carts, ready to provide that extra injection of sugar – a welcomed prize being dished out on the 11th hole by Marketing Coordinator, Alanna Bottrell and Theatre & Arts Centre Director, Alan Roberts.

“It was great to interact with everybody,” said Bottrell.

“They were not shy at all about sharing their great comments about the season that just wrapped up. It was also fun to give them the goods on what’s coming up next year. It was awesome to be out there telling our story.”

From the striking views of the river valley to the random encounters with local wildlife-foxes, squirrels and others, from the uncharacteristic absence of mosquitos to the wonderful abundance of fresh air, the Golf Classic offered up a day away from the hustle and bustle of business, a chance to visit with old friends and the opportunity to meet new ones.

Keyano staff and students, along with community volunteers, numbered over 100 this year.

“We can’t thank the volunteers enough for their efforts,” said Melane LeBlanc, Annual Giving Manager.

“It takes a lot of hands working together to put something like this together. From our Golf Committee to our sponsors, from the great Keyano staff and our many students, they made the event extra special. They were the champions that helped us raise a record total of over $210,000.”

Shortly after the Phoenix Heli-Flight Helicopter drop its load of golf balls over the specially made hole for the much-anticipated Sky Drop, the First North Catering staff unveiled a delectable banquet. Patrons of the event enjoyed an entertaining live auction, the passing out of prizes and the invitation to return in 2012 for what will undoubtedly be another record breaking tournament.


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