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— There's something for everyone at the 16th annual Pea Ridge Classic Golf Tournament this Saturday.

There will be a putting contest, games and prizes for children, as well as breakfast for the spouses of participants of the golf tournament.

"We try to add something every year," John Brown said.

Brown, who was one of the early organizers of the event now sponsored by the Pea Ridge Optimist Club, said: "I'm not an Optimist, but I'm an optimist."

"I'm optimistic about life," Brown said.

The four-man scramble begins at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

Breakfast for the children and spouses of the participants of the tournament will be at 9 a.m. followed by games on the putting area for the children until 11 a.m.

Pea Ridge High School cheerleaders will be helping with the children's games.

"We're being creative. We'll have games for the kids to play.

We want them to have some fun," Brown said. "We want to let people know Optimist is more than golf and men.

"There will be goodie bags for the children."

Various mascots are expected to be there, as well. The Blackhawk will be there and Brown said others are anticipated as well.

"Optimist is for everybody," he said. "We're going to have a good time."

Several area businesses are contributing food, candy, gum and toys.

The Pea Ridge Golf Classic was begun 16 years ago by several area residents including Jim Cheek, Lee Hall, Jerry Wilkerson and Jerry Burton.

Brown said the group began by organizing a money-maker because someone realized there were boys at school who wanted to play basketball but didn't have the money to buy basketball shoes.

"We wanted to fulfill their dreams," he said, adding, "we realized it's what we should have been doing all along."

The tournament was first held in Noel, Mo., but moved to the Big Sugar Golf Course when it opened south of Pea Ridge.

"The Pea Ridge Classic got so big, we didn't want to see it die," Brown said of the decision to enlist the aid of the Pea Ridge Optimist Club.

He said the old Pea Ridge Classic was just six or seven people helping anyone they could, and the Optimist Club helped direct the funds to the children.

Despite the tough economic times, Brown said getting contributions is easy when the donors realize the funds raised go to worthy causes helping children.

"People watch what you do with the money. They see the Optimists giving to the Arkansas Children's Hospital, shoes for children, a fence to keep children safe at the ball park ...."

The Pea Ridge Golf Classic is set for Saturday, Aug. 22, at Big Sugar Golf Course off Arkansas Highway 94. For information on teams or sponsorships, contact Justin Bradford at 841-7800 or Jason Van Dyke at 518-6007.

News, Pages 1 on 08/19/2009

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